There are three main credit report companies that are nationwide and are united under a common trade organization called the CIDA, the Consumer Data Industry Association. This helps to establish and maintain industry standards. The FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, supervises these companies.
Credit reporting companies are better known as Credit report bureaus, and are responsible for compiling reports on the credit history and habits of individuals. They collect the information, and then sell it to businesses who use the information to assess the risk factor of lending, or employing, or letting a property to an individual. Everyone is entitled to see what is on their report, but this is only free once a year. If you wish to obtain your report from the three major companies more than once a year, the likelihood is that there will be a fee attached for this service.
All credit report scores contain some essential information that is the same, and some information that varies, depending on where the information is obtained. All credit reports include customer’s details such as name, address, employment, employers name, and spouse’s name.
Credit details may vary, and it is worth making sure that they are correct as they can influence your credit score. The information about your history will include terms and conditions of amounts borrowed, the dates, accounts, balances, frequency of late payments, and other information associated with debts.
Credit reports also contain public information that are obtained from the courts, which includes bankruptcy, lawsuits, judgements and if you have spent time in jail and what for. Contained in credit reports are names of companies and individuals who have requested copies of your credit reports within the last year and a half.
Usually information is updated on a monthly basis, but there is always room for human error. If you do find that there is inaccurate information on your credit history, or suspect your identity has been used for fraud, take immediate action. Request a letter from the creditor explaining the mistake, and send a copy to the company credit report company in question. They are legally obliged to update your details and credit score as soon as information is presented to them.
If you have any complaints, or further questions about the three main companies, you can write to the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Credit Practices, Washington DC 20580.