Equifax-Experian-TransUnion: Compare major credit bureaus

Compare major credit bureaus

Credit Report – Before and After (Photo credit: TrinityCreditServices)

Equifax-Experian-TransUnion: Compare Major Credit Bureaus

If you are nervous about examining your credit reports you are not alone.  Many people shy away from actually pulling credit reports and looking for fear of what they will find.  This is just as irrational as not going to the doctor or getting a medical test because if you don’t know something bad you don’t have to face it.

For an easy, free and early summary of what’s on your records try Credit Karma for Trans Union and Equifax and Credit.com for Experian.  These are FAKO scores based on somewhat different standards than your real FICO score.  These sites are only for getting started and ongoing monitoring.  You now need to see your real credit reports.

Compare Major Credit Bureaus for Peace of Mind

Like an ostrich who finally pulls its head out of the sand, you will  feel better once you realize that examining these reports can only help you–it can never hurt you.  Correcting outright mistakes, which are common, gives the consumer a sense of empowerment.  Many people find that something they expected to be in there isn’t there at all. The reports really are not hard to understand. Compare Major Credit Bureaus.

The common wisdom is that West Coast lenders favor Experian, East Coast lenders favor Equifax and TransUnion is favored in the Mid-West.  I wouldn’t count on this.  Don’t play the guessing game because there are no guarantees.  Some lenders will tell you which one they will pull if you ask.  Many of the major credit card lenders now pull 2 different credit reports.  Mortgage lenders pull all 3 for what is called a “Tri-Merge Report.”  Here’s what will be on each:

Compare Major Credit Bureaus by Category

Information found in the reports of all 3 bureaus is categorized this way

  • Personal Information:  Here is where they include your full name(s), date of birth, address, place of employment and a partial listing of your social security number
  • Summary of Accounts: This is the heart and soul of your credit report listing any information creditors have reported about your payment history on loans of all kinds, such as credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and charge accounts.  Carefully compare major credit bureaus in this category
  • Public records: Any public records in your file such as judgments, tax liens or a bankruptcy will be listed here.  Judgments are now much less of a problem since it has been found that most judgments do not have enough identifying information to be reliable.  To a lesser extent this is true of tax liens as well.  Most older judgments and many tax liens have been deleted. These can significantly lower your FICO score.  If you can settle them try to get them listed as “dismissed” if that can be made a condition of the settlement.  If you do this the damage will be ignored by credit-scorers.  Better yet insist on deletion as a condition of settlement.
  • Inquiries: Here is where records of all your credit applications are kept, usually for 2 years.  FICO only counts hard inquiries for one year.  Every time you apply for credit it results in a “hard pull” of your file which dings your credit by a small to medium impact. Pulling your own credit report is called a “soft pull” and doesn’t impact it at all.  The number of inquiries on each report will vary because credit card issuers usually only inquire of 1 or 2 credit bureaus.  This is another reason why it is smart to compare major credit bureaus.
  • Consumer statements: You are allowed a statement of up to 100 words if you feel the need to explain anything you don’t like or agree with in your file.  This will not affect your score one way or the other and is only worthwhile for those few instances where someone may actually examine the file itself in detail.  Don’t make a consumer statement.  Banks don’t care.  It can slow down processing of your mortgage application.

Compare major credit bureaus for different features

Unique to Equifax: Equifax is the only one that summarizes “Open” and “Closed” accounts.  This is a nice feature which makes it easy to choose the accounts you want to examine first.  Equifax files usually show an 81-month credit history although sometimes closed or paid accounts are followed by a statement reading: “No 81-month payment data available for display.”

Unique to Experian: Experian shows you “Status Details” indicating when an account is scheduled to fall off your credit report  This very nice feature tells you how long blemishes will haunt you.  Also positive payment history, which stays on for 10 years, will show status details as to how long it will remain on record.  Experian also has a “Balance History” which dates back to November of 2007.  This will say what your high credit/balance history has been since you opened the account.  It could say for instance that “Between December 2010 and the present date your credit limit/high balance was $7500.00″

Unique to TransUnion:  TransUnion has a thorough employment section under your personal summary.  You can update or correct anytime which will not change your score, but may be appreciated by some lenders.  TransUnion lists your accounts as “Satisfactory” and “Unsatisfactory.”  Also included are color coded boxes (white, green, yellow, orange and red) with words or numbers inside them to indicate your payment history.  White with “X”=unknown information.  Green with “OK”=current.  Yellow with “30”:=30 days late.  Orange with “60”= 60 days late.  Red with “90”=90 days late, with “120”=120 days late.  TransUnion also uses “N/A” or “Not Applicable” to describe accounts where appropriate.

Get started to compare major credit bureaus

There it is.  It’s no big mystery.  You’ll never finish unless you start to compare major credit bureaus.  Get your free reports from AnnualCreditReport.com and begin moving closer to the achievement of a great credit score. Carefully compare major credit bureaus for discrepancies.  Remember that no one credit bureau’s report is more important than another because you have no way of knowing which report or reports the creditor you are applying to will use.  Not every creditor reports to all three. All banks get what is called a tri-merged credit report combining details from all three credit bureaus for mortgages.  The middle score is the score used.  It is essential that you give equal weight to the importance of all 3 major credit reporting agencies when you begin cleaning up and enhancing your reports.

when you compare major credit bureaus you will be surprised at how different the information they carry is.


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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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