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What are Credit Bureaus?

Credit bureaus are the companies that receive, store, and compile information about consumers and their use of credit. While at one time you might see independent credit bureaus in cities across the U.S., now most credit data is compiled by one or all of the 3 major companies.

Along with credit data, the credit bureaus collect information that is of public record – such as notices of bankruptcy.

The “big 3” credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

Creditors report your activity to one or more of these companies, where a credit scoring model is used to generate reports.

The reason the three credit bureaus usually report slightly different scores is that not all creditors report to all 3 bureaus. Thus, they’re basing their scores on different information.

While most creditors are still using the FICO scoring model, the three credit bureaus have together created their own credit scoring model, called the Vantage Score. Also, in 2009 FICO released a second model known as the FICO 8 Score.

Creditors can request your credit report and scores based on the model they prefer.

In addition, the credit bureaus create specialized reports and scores for different industries and purposes - such as insurance companies who use scores in determining premiums for individual consumers

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