Credit Bureau

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DEFINITION of 'Credit Bureau'

An agency that researches and collects individual credit information and sells it for a fee to creditors so they can make a decision on granting loans. Typical clients include banks, mortgage lenders, credit card companies and other financing companies. Also commonly referred to as consumer reporting agency or credit reporting agency.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Credit Bureau'

A credit bureau doesn't decide whether an individual qualifies for credit or not. It only collects information that it considers relevant to a person's credit history and habits.

The three main credit bureaus in the United States are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What do creditors have to report to credit bureaus?

    Creditors are not required by law to report anything to credit bureaus, although many businesses choose to report on-time ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Will a debt settlement program affect my credit score?

    In a very broad, general sense, debt settlement typically has a negative impact on your credit score. The impact depends ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do secured credit cards help me build my credit score?

    A secured credit card is a common, relatively safe strategy for those with little or poor credit to improve their credit ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are some examples of good situations in which to use revolving credit?

    There are two main ways in which you can be granted credit: installment credit and revolving credit. Revolving credit accounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What’s the difference between a consumer disclosure and a credit report?

    Consumer disclosures and consumer credit reports are both regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the differences between the three national credit bureaus?

    There are several different credit bureaus but only three that are of major national significance: Equifax, Experian and ... Read Full Answer >>
  7. How long does information stay on my credit report?

    Different types of reported information stay on your credit report for different lengths of time; positive information can ... Read Full Answer >>
  8. Can a debt collector contact me about a debt that's no longer on my credit report?

    According to Experian, a debt collector can contact a consumer about a debt that is no longer on the consumer's credit report. ... Read Full Answer >>
  9. Why are there three national credit bureaus?

    Three national credit bureau companies have the most clout in the United States, because Experian, TransUnion and Equifax ... Read Full Answer >>
  10. How often is my credit score updated?

    A consumer's credit score usually updates at least once every 30 to 45 days, and in some cases almost daily, depending on ... Read Full Answer >>
  11. Do unpaid medical bills appear on my credit report?

    An unpaid medical bill can appear on a credit report, usually after it is turned over to a collection agency. The most common ... Read Full Answer >>
  12. How can I increase my FICO score?

    Your credit score is calculated through a scoring model created by the Fair Isaac Corporation and is the most common valuation ... Read Full Answer >>
  13. Will using an overdraft hurt my credit score?

    Overdrafting a bank account does not directly hurt your credit score unless the debt is ignored for so long that the bank ... Read Full Answer >>
  14. When does the statute of limitations clock start on my debts?

    Your debts may have a statute of limitations for past-due amounts. This refers to the legal time frame in which creditors ... Read Full Answer >>
  15. Why don't I have a credit score?

    Not having a credit score usually means there is no credit history for the credit bureaus to assess. Having no credit score ... Read Full Answer >>
  16. Do I need to know all three of my credit scores?

    Credit information is often not reported with the same accuracy across all three credit bureaus, so it is important for consumers ... Read Full Answer >>
  17. How is my credit score calculated?

    The credit score, commonly referred to as a FICO score, is a proprietary tool created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. This ... Read Full Answer >>
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