Most Americans are familiar with the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each credit bureau assembles consumer credit transactions into a credit report and calculates a credit score. The credit bureaus also report on civil judgments, repossessions, foreclosures, and bankruptcy. Banks use this information to determine the “credit-worthiness” of applicants and the likelihood that a loan will be repaid.
The credit reporting industry is not limited to three players, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are simply the biggest and most recognized. A fourth large credit reporting agency is Innovis, and there are also dozens of smaller companies that collect, analyze and sell information about consumers. Since major lenders use information from the “big three,” most consumers tend to ignore the other credit reporting agencies.
Now there is a new company keeping an eye on you: CoreLogic. What makes this company significant is that it merges traditional credit report data from the national credit bureaus with supplemental information that is typically not found on a credit report. This supplemental information includes information found on lease applications, payday loan information, rent-to-own agreements, dealer financed auto loans, property ownership records, rental evictions, and child support obligations.
The new report, called a CoreScore, is meant to “provide increased transparency into a borrower’s credit history.” However, a person’s credit score is only as good as the information provided, and these new information sources only paint an inaccurate picture. For instance, a low-income person may receive an eviction notice after withholding rent for a legally justified reason.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to get one free copy of your credit file from each of three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once every 12 months through a central source. To request your free annual report under the FCRA, go to www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll free (877) 322-8228, or use the mail request form available at the central source website and mail to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281. You may also receive a free copy of your CoreLogic Credco consumer file, including the information provided on your CoreScore report, by visiting the CoreLogic website.
Knowing the information provided in your credit file will help you identify creditors before you file bankruptcy, and can help you improve your credit after your bankruptcy is discharged. It is your credit file, so make sure you keep an eye on those credit reporting agencies watching you.