Credit bureau

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Credit bureau

An agency that researches the credit history of consumers so that creditors can make decisions about granting of loans.

Credit Rating Agency

A company that provides investors with assessments of an investment's risk. The issuers of investments, especially debt securities, pay credit rating agencies to provide them with ratings. A high rating indicates low risk and may therefore encourage investors to buy a security. Additionally, banks may only invest in securities with a high rating from two or more credit rating agencies. The SEC recognizes 10 firms as credit rating agencies; Fitch, S&P, and Moody's are the three most prominent. However, the methods of credit ratings agencies have been subject to criticism. For example, most agencies gave high-risk mortgage-backed securities top ratings until they defaulted at the collapse of the housing bubble.

Credit bureau.

The three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion -- collect information about the way you use credit and make it available to anyone with a legitimate business need to see it, including potential lenders, landlords, and current or prospective employers.

The bureaus keep records of the credit accounts you have, how much you owe, your payment habits, and the lenders and other businesses that have accessed your credit report.

Credit bureaus, also known as credit reporting agencies, store other information about you as well, such as your present and past addresses, Social Security number, employment history, and information in the public record, including bankruptcies, liens, and any judgments against you.

However, there are certain things, by law, your credit report can't include, including your age, race, religion, political affiliation, or health records.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year, but you have to request them through the Annual Credit Report Request Service ( or 877-322-8228).

If you've recently been denied credit, are unemployed, on public assistance, or have a reason to suspect identity theft or credit fraud, you're also entitled to a free report. In those cases, you should contact the credit bureaus directly.

credit bureau

See credit reporting agency.

References in periodicals archive ?
Some commercial agencies offer to "repair" your credit file for a fee by trying to remove information that is incorrect - remember that this is something you can do yourself through the credit reference agency.
pounds OVER one in four people plan to cut their Christmas spending by at least 50 per cent, according to credit reference agency Callcredit.
Credit reference agency Experian said 2,570 people had contacted its free Victims of Fraud service during the first six months of the year, 68% more than during the same period of 2006.
The warning comes from credit reference agency Experian which is emphasising the importance of making sure your name is on the electoral roll.
com, the UK's first internet-based credit reference agency, warn that the Consumer Credit Bill does not deal with longstanding issues, such as giving consumers the right to be told a reason for credit refusal.
The survey was carried out by credit reference agency MyCallcredit.
When a search is being done it will throw up everyone with your name in your locality, and often the credit reference agency will just see a name and may not bother to check any further.
The lender uses the information provided by the credit reference agency, together with the information given by the person applying for credit, to decide whether or not to grant credit.
Consumers need to know about this risk, as getting into mobile accounts isn't just about getting a phone," says Neil Munroe of credit reference agency Equifax.
Leeds-based Callcredit, a credit reference agency, gives lenders taking part in its over-indebtedness initiative (OII) information on which customers seem likely to be unable to meet their repayments.
James Jones, of credit reference agency Experian, says: "During an authorised payment break, late payments are not registered on your credit report, but if you fail to make contractual repayments without the lender's permission, they are likely to register late payments against your name which can store up bigger problems for later.
What they failed to realise was that the lender would find out when it checked their record using a credit reference agency.