Consumer Reporting Agency - Explained
What is a Consumer Reporting Agency?
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What is a Consumer Reporting Agency?
Consumers reporting agencies are organizations that produce credit reports. A credit report shows your payment behavior and places you have worked. The reporting agencies then sell this information to creditors, insurers and employers. The credit bureau is the most common reporting agency.
How Does a Consumer Reporting Agency Work?
Credit reports impact how US citizens access credit, employment and insurance. Due to the great importance of these reports, the activities of CRAs are regulated by the government through Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA, and Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act, FACTA. These regulatory bodies have created restrictions on how reporting agencies operate. This includes giving a free credit report every year.
What are some examples of consumer reporting agencies?
There are three major CRAs in the US:
- Equifax It serves different industries including financial services, credit card, healthcare, retail and the government. Headquartered in Georgia and having been in operation for more than 100 years, the CRA does both commercial and consumer credit reporting.
- Experian This is the largest of the three CRA. It is very active in offering solutions for merchants, creditors and lenders. Besides credit reporting, it offers identity theft protection and credit monitoring services.
- TransUnion This CRA has been in operation for more than 40 years, has garnered more than 500 million consumers details and it works with about 45,000 businesses. Besides credit reporting, the CRA provides risk portfolio management.
There are other smaller CRAs including Telecheck, Tenant Data Services, Teletrak, LexisNexis, Insurance Services Office and Medical Information Bureau. Each year, a consumer is entitled to a free credit report through annualcreditreport.com.
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