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Credit bureau reporting advice: Take the completed credit application the consumer filled out and verify the information with a credit reporting agency. The three major national sources of this information about consumers are: Equifax, at 1-888-202-4025 or www.equifax.com, Experian, at 1-888-217-6064 or www.experian.com, and TransUnion, at 1-312-466-7363 or www.transunion.com. Their addresses are as follows:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
(888) EXPERIAN (888-397-3742).
* Trans Union
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
In order to receive consumer credit reports, you will need to subscribe to the reporting agency's service. Once you've subscribed, you can order credit reports. Each credit report comes with a credit risk score, which predicts how likely this person is to default on a loan.
According to the TransUnion website: The credit reporting industry has long played an integral role in the American economy. By providing updated consumer information to help credit grantors make fast and accurate decisions for consumer credit transactions, credit reporting agencies help fuel economic growth. Credit reporting provides significant benefits to the financial system and the economy. Examples of these benefits include allowing consumers with good credit to open and expand credit lines, providing businesses with reliable data to make sound judgments about credit, decreasing loan losses and personal bankruptcies by providing crucial information needed for credit grantors to more accurately assess the profile of an individual borrower, reducing risk-assessment costs by accessing the comprehensive information gathered by the credit reporting bureau more quickly and accurately, increasing borrower privacy protection by providing a systematic basis for lending without the hassle of lengthy support documentation, reducing fraud by providing additional information such as invalid addresses and Social Security numbers that allow credit grantors to identify and avoid potentially fraudulent credit applications, and lastly by speeding access to data by allowing consumers to make immediate large-scale purchases such as a car.
According to the company website, TransUnion was founded in 1968. Its headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois with operations in all 50 states and offices on 5 continents and in 24 countries. TransUnion highlights include that TransUnion opened the Fraud Victim Assistance Department, the nation's first dedicated unit to assist consumers with credit fraud. They designed and implemented the first automated tape-to-disc transfer system, replacing manual data-entry. TransUnion revolutionized the credit reporting industry with the first online information storage and retrieval data-processing system - the Credit Reporting On-line Network Utility System (CRONUS) and TransUnion was the first to implement the technology to enable accurate identity searches based on a person's nickname. The TransUnion credit bureau is a leading global provider of business intelligence services supported by more than 3600 employees worldwide. With technology-based intelligence products, including innovative credit decisioning and fraud prevention tools, advanced target marketing products, risk and profitability models and portfolio management, TransUnion enables businesses to manage financial risk and capitalize on market opportunities.
According to the company website, Experian employs more than 4,500 people in North America. Experian North America's annual sales are more than $1.2 billion. Experian's North America databases contain more than 65 terabytes (65 trillion bytes) of data. Experian maintains credit information on approximately 215 million U.S. consumers and more than 15 million U.S. businesses. Experian maintains demographic information on approximately 215 million consumers in 110 million living units across the United States. Experian provides address information for more than 20 billion promotional mail pieces to more than 100 million households every year. The Experian credit bureau is a subsidiary of GUS plc, a UK-based holding company that includes retail, property investment, finance and information services businesses.
Experian North America
With approximately 30 years of experience and more than 30,000 clients in North America, Experian combines our unsurpassed data with the knowledge, expertise and creativity to help companies build successful relationships with their customers. Experian also provides U.S. consumers with the tools and services to help them understand, manage and protect their personal credit profiles.
The Experian credit bureau offers value-added solutions to help our clients optimize their processes in targeting, acquiring, managing and maximizing interactions with their customers. These solutions enable clients to profitably grow customer relationships using Experian's information assets and expertise in risk management and credit marketing. Many of Credit Services' products and solutions are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which protects consumers' rights by limiting access to their credit reports.
Marketing Services focuses on helping clients communicate effectively with their customers through multiple channels and measuring the effectiveness of those communications. Information, data management, insight and delivery solutions power smarter direct-marketing strategies and deliver true customer connections for marketers in the catalog, retail, financial services, nonprofit, media, consumer products, mid-tier/reseller and other sectors.
Experian Automotive delivers information solutions to manufacturers, dealers, finance and insurance companies, and consumers. Experian helps automotive clients increase customer loyalty, target and win new business, and make better lending and vehicle purchase decisions. Its National Vehicle Database, housing more than 450 million vehicles, along with Experian's credit, consumer and business information assets, meets the industry's growing demand for an integrated information source. The National Vehicle Database contains title and registration data – including vehicle identification number, title and transfer, registration and renewal, specs, brand, and name and address – from a variety of public and proprietary sources in all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and Canada. Experian's advanced decision support services help clients turn this information into improved business results.
Experian Consumer Direct
Experian Consumer Direct offers consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit histories to help them better manage their financial lives. The division was created in 2002 when Experian combined CreditExpert, its consumer credit management group, with ConsumerInfo.com, the largest provider of online credit reports and other credit-related information to consumers. Experian Consumer Direct's Internet properties, which include ConsumerInfo.com, FreeCreditReport.com, CreditExpert.com, CreditMatters.com, along with co-branded partner sites, receive more than 10 million visitors monthly. In 1996, it was the first U.S. company to offer consumers online access to credit reports, and it went on to pioneer online delivery of three-bureau credit reports and lender-style credit scores. Its innovative three-bureau report provides consumers access to their complete credit history from their Equifax, Experian and TransUnion files in seconds. The company delivered more than 2.7 million credit scores in 2003 and currently, more than 2 million members belong to its credit monitoring service. Experian Consumer Direct enjoys prominent co-branded partnerships with companies such as Yahoo!, MSN, EarthLink, LendingTree, Quicken, E-LOAN, and AOL.
The Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996 regulates the activities of credit reporting agencies. A credit reporting agency (aka. a credit bureau or a consumer reporting agency) under this law means any person or business which assembles or evaluates consumer credit information for the purpose of providing consumer reports (aka credit reports) to third parties.
According to the official TransUnion website, TransUnion carefully safeguards the credit history of virtually every American consumer.
The existence of each individual's updated credit file makes it possible for businesses to make nearly instantaneous, objective credit and insurance decisions. Processes that formerly took days or weeks may now be completed in minutes without question of personal prejudice or subjective judgment. The TransUnion database also gives consumers more choices. It makes it possible for credit card issuers and other businesses to target their offers so that consumers may shop for the best products and terms. Ready access to reliable information makes the modern consumer economy possible.
The TransUnion credit bureau recognizes that there is a balance between the ready availability of credit information, which benefits consumers, and improper access that can infringe on consumer expectations of privacy. Consumers appreciate the benefits they derive from the consumer credit reporting system, as long as those benefits are not outweighed by the potential harm caused if personal information is used improperly.
Facts about accuracy include that Experian's credit files contain records on approximately 205 million credit-active consumers and 15 million U.S. businesses. Each month, there are more than 4.5 billion updates to credit report information throughout the U.S. The American credit databases are the most accurate and secure in the world. Experian has a long, distinguished record of responsible stewardship of the data in our care.
Facts about privacy include that Experian uses state-of-art technology to both protect credit data and maintain strict privacy standards in accordance with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. No one is permitted to see consumer credit reports unless they have permissible purpose and the Experian credit bureau has verified the identity of the person making the request. We will, of course, share your credit file with a credit grantor when you instruct us to do so. An example of this would be a bank that is making a credit decision on a loan you have applied for. for more information, check out www.experian.com.
Credit reports from businesses can be obtained from the credit bureau reporting agency of Dun & Bradstreet at 1-888-814-1435 or by visiting their website at http://www.dnb.com. This information can be obtained without joining an association or subscribing to a service. However, you will need to register with the service provider.
Equifax for example provides a "business partners" program that costs about $300 to join. Half of this fee is for membership and the other half is to cover the cost of conducting a federally mandated on-site investigation of your business. The investigators will make sure that you are who you say you are, and that you have a legitimate use for this information. Once you've been cleared, you can order consumer credit reports at about $4 each.
Need some credit bureau reporting advice? A credit reporting agency may furnish a credit report for a consumer only under certain circumstances provides for by law:
*In response to a court order;
*In accordance with written instructions from the consumer;
*To any person that the reporting agency has reason to believe;
-is involved in the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of the consumer;
-intends to use the information for employment purposes;
-intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance involving the consumer;
-intends to use the information in connection with a determination of the consumer's eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental agency (if the agency is required by law to consider an applicant's financial responsibility);
*otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction involving the consumer.
Equifax Inc. (http://www.equifax.com) is a global leader in turning information into intelligence. For businesses, Equifax provides faster and easier ways to find, approve and market to the appropriate customers. For consumers, the Equifax credit bureau offers easier, instantaneous ways to buy products or services and better insight into and management of their personal credit. Equifax. Information that Empowers.
Equifax Inc. (NYSE:EFX) and myFICO.com, a division of Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE:FIC), announced their launch of Score Watch, the most powerful service available for monitoring consumers' credit health. With Score Watch, consumers can track their FICO(R) credit score and see how their score impacts the interest rates likely to be offered by mortgage, auto and home equity lenders.
Available to consumers from both http://www.myfico.com and http://www.equifax.com, Score Watch helps consumers to proactively manage their FICO score -- the score most lenders use -- and identify the right time to make a major purchase.
Score Watch continuously monitors subscribers' Equifax credit file for changes that can affect their FICO scores. Once a change is detected, Score Watch alerts subscribers via email or wireless text message, advising them to visit a secured web site for a detailed explanation of the change in credit status. If the subscriber's credit score changes by a significant amount due to changes in their credit file, the Score Watch alert will also include their up-to-date score.
Score Watch subscribers also can preset a target score and be notified when they reach it, a valuable service for consumers who are aiming to qualify for a mortgage, home equity, or auto loan at a lower interest rate. Score Watch is available immediately, and costs $7.95 per month or $79.95 for 12 months.
"Score Watch is the only monitoring service that helps consumers check and manage their FICO credit score, the score most lenders use,"said Cheri St. John, vice president of scoring and consumer solutions for Fair Isaac. "It provides consumers with an effective and affordable tool for keeping a close eye on the most important measure of their credit health."
"The Equifax credit bureau is committed to delivering the resources and knowledge consumers need to manage their credit health and reach their financial goals," said Paul Springman, chief marketing officer, Equifax. "With Score Watch, consumers gain access to an important tool that makes preparing for a major purchase much easier -- a critical component in the planning process."
With Score Watch, consumers can take advantage of a range of features, including:
-- Information updated daily about current average interest rates for various types of loans and the specific credit score ranges that are currently receiving those rates.
-- Secured website where members can track how their score has changed during their subscription, get credit scoring tips, and get explanations of the factors impacting their current FICO score.
-- Email and wireless alerts when there is a change to a subscriber's score that is likely to affect an interest rate.
-- Ability for subscribers to set the target FICO score they are seeking to achieve and be notified when they reach it.
-- Two Score Power(R) reports that include an overview of the consumer's FICO credit score and a copy of their Equifax Credit Report(TM).
Score Watch is the second consumer product jointly developed by Fair Isaac and Equifax, integrating Fair Isaac's FICO scoring technology with Equifax's credit file monitoring expertise. Through this relationship, Equifax and Fair Isaac provide tools and resources designed to enlighten consumers about the value of credit scores and how their behavior can affect their credit score over time. In 2001, Equifax and Fair Isaac introduced Score Power, an online credit score service that delivers Fair Isaac's FICO credit score and the Equifax Credit Report.