Credit Reports / Credit Reporting Agencies

If you have had any experience dealing with your credit, you have heard one, if not all, of the following organizations: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. These organizations are the three primary sources of credit reports in the United States. These independent organizations each have proprietary methods for gathering, analyzing, and sharing their findings. They are in the business of gathering data about consumers and empowering them to make important financial choices. Each has a collection of expert financial specialist that assist businesses in gaining understanding about consumers looking to establish some type of relationship or complete a transaction.

What this means for you is that managing your credit report is important to rebuilding your credit, if you have experienced any major event that has negatively impacted your credit. This may be a divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, repossession of property, or other significant financial change.

The Big 3: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion


Experian (PLUS score)

  • Experian is the self-proclaimed global leader in credit reporting. Although all three credit bureaus were involved in the development of consumer focused VantageScore, Experian is the chief development resource.

Equifax (ScorePower)

  • Coming in as second in number of users and partnerships, Equifax is another bureau for determining credit worthiness. Many businesses use Equifax because they are seen as the most thorough in fact checking of the three.


  • TransUnion is the third and evenly balanced of the credit bureaus. TransUnion relies heavily on self-reported information and is typically linked to debt collectors as they allow for easy communication between creditors and debtors in regards to credit files.

There is no great difference between each credit reporting agency. The largest difference is where they obtain their consumer information and how they relay that information to creditors and consumers. Each organization offers some form of identity theft protection, credit monitoring, credit reporting, and consumer education.

In the end, it is necessary to monitor all of them as some information may be available through one bureau that may not be available with the others. Remember, this are independent businesses that are not consumer advocacy groups or government agencies so the information they gather is supplied through public records or relationships with business partners. You have a say in what is reported to some extent but only if you take an active role in managing your credit.