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Credit Bureaus

The Big Three Credit Bureaus: About the Equifax Credit Bureau

The year was 1899 and the big business endeavor was called the Retail Credit Company.  By 1920 the company had setup offices throughout America and Canada.  By the 1960s, RCC was one of the nation’s largest credit bureaus.  For years, the federal government did not regulate collecting private information on consumers.  So RCC was free to provide as much information on consumers as possible and to anyone who requested such data.  Often times this data was very personal, far beyond what we know of as “credit” today, and comparable to a private investigation company.  However, by the 1970s the Federal Trade Commission began to regulate the information that could be found with a credit bureau report, stating that consumers had rights to their own credit history. 

Not only did this ruling limit the information that could be spread; it also stated that consumers had the right to check their credit and that at least one free credit bureau report could be requested every year.  Eventually the Retail Credit Company changed its direction and evolved into the Credit Equifax Company of today.  Now Equifax focuses its efforts on financial and demographic data.  The Equifax of today maintains credit files on 400 million credit holders across the world.  Though the company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, it has offices in 14 different countries and makes over $1.5 billion dollars a year.

In considering credit and Equifax, understand that although the business primarily sells its data to professional clients, it still offers products for consumers who want to dispute or analyze their credit history.  The Credit Equifax Watch option lets consumers log into a website and obtain reports on their credit history and credit score with unlimited access.  Furthermore, they can also keep updated on any changes that are made on the file and get access to Credit Lock, which prevents any inquiries into a credit file without permission.

Should you order a report on credit with Equifax?  Yes, but in doing so don’t forget to analyze your credit from the other big three credit bureaus including TransUnion and Experian.  A credit bureau report from Equifax will only give you data based on Equifax’s findings.  However, a tri-merge report can provide much more detail since it includes information from all three bureaus.  You do have the right to request a free once-a-year credit history report from all three bureaus so take advantage of this opportunity!

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Credit Success Stories

I didn't realize that there are other types of credit bureaus, including one that only deals with your checking account history. The credit bureau is "ChexSystems" and they need to comply with the same rules as regular credit bureaus. I was happy to find out that I could get my ChexSystems record cleared up! Read More