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Credit Reporting Agencies

A Credit Reporting Agency is a company that collects information on the public and credit data of consumers. The company then issues reports that detail how individuals handle their credit, make payments, whether they have any loans or outstanding debt and what their credit potential is. These reports are made available to responsible creditors in order for them to decide whether or not to give a client credit. Other service providers such as employers and landlords can also make use of this service.  

By law, individuals have the right to request Statutory Credit Reports that allow them access to their personal credit information. Included in these reports are personal details such as your name, date of birth, recent addresses and recent employers. The majority of the report consists of credit history that is compiled from details of credit accounts that were opened in your name or for which you are an authorised user, for example a spouse’s credit card. This usually consists of the dates on which accounts were opened, the limits and amounts of loans taken out, payment terms and a history which reveals whether or not payments have been made on time. Inactive or closed accounts can stay on the records for up to six years from the last date of activity. 

Credit reports do not include information about bankruptcies or debts placed for collection that are more than six years old. It also does not include ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history, criminal records or gender.  
Matters of public record are obtained from governmental sources; it can stay on your credit record for six years. Credit reporting agencies record any inquiries from third parties when a credit report is requested. These inquiries remain on record for up to two years.   

For a company, group or person to have access to an individual’s credit report, all they require is an acceptable reason. They can be landlords, potential lenders, service providers, government agencies (may have access only to certain sections), insurance companies, employers (typically require written consent) or someone that has obtained written authorization from you to access your credit history.  

  • Equifax: 
    Based in the United States, Equifax is a global service provider that was founded in 1899 and is one of the oldest operating consumer credit reporting agencies. Among the services Equifax offers is Equifax Credit Watch, which allows registered members to log onto the Credit Watch website and download reports. Equifax also offers a service named Credit Lock, which allows subscribers to limit inquiries into their credit reports.  
  • Experian: 
    Experian is a global credit data group and operates from the UK where it was founded in 1980. The main lines of business of Experian are interactive services, decision analytics, marketing solutions and credit services. Access to Experian’s collected data is subject to regulatory control which depends on the regulations of each country from which it operates. Experian mainly markets credit reports directly to consumers.


Credit in Minutes Tip #1

Stay on top of your credit report. Most credit reports contain errors. Make sure you check your credit report every year (you get one free credit report every twelve months) and if there are errors make sure to challenge them with the reporting credit agency. Credit agencies are required to investigate each and every challenge that gets reported.

Credit in Minutes Tip #2

Just because you qualify for all of those credit cards does not mean you should get them. A person with too many credit cards looks sketchy in the eyes of a potential creditor. Think of it this way: if a person is financially stable does he or she need ten different credit cards? Wouldn’t just one or two suffice?

Credit in Minutes Tip #3

The best way to raise your credit score is to make all of your payments on time. It sounds too simple to be true, but that’s all there really is to it. Staying out of debt and/or making all of your debt payments on time will keep your score up where it should be.

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