What Are the Differences between TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax?
Having a good credit score is important. It can qualify you for auto loans, home mortgages, and other personal loans. It can qualify you for credit cards with lower interest rates. Before we had the big credit bureaus, personal credit was vetted by merchants and financial groups who formed a list of trustworthy customers. Eventually, these groups became for-profit companies that expanded, developed, and merged. And now we have three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
If you’ve ever looked at your annual credit report, surely, you have noticed that there are some differences in the way the three reporting agencies report your information. So what are the main differences between TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax? There are a few things to be aware of.
In your personal summary on your TransUnion report, there is more thorough employment data for you than on the reports from the other two agencies. On the TransUnion report, there are “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory” accounts that are listed. There are also color-coded boxes that have numbers or words inside of them, indicating your payment history. For example, a green box that says “OK” signifies a current payment, a red box with a “90” means that you were 90 days late with your payment, and a white box with an “X” means there is unknown information.
In an Experian credit report, there are unique features. For example, Experian shows “status details” for each account, which will also tell you when an account will fall off of your credit report. So if you have paid off a credit card and closed it in February 2009, on your credit report, it will specify that the account is scheduled to continue on record until February 2019. There is also a “balance history” section on the Experian credit report that indicates what your credit/balance has been over different time frames since 2007.
In an Equifax report, accounts are summarized as either open or closed, and this makes it easier to look at an overview of your accounts and decide which accounts need to be examined first. Equifax will also show an 81-month credit history for credit accounts. In many cases, you may see a statement that says “no 81-month payment data available for display”.
All three credit reports will have some of the same basic information like your personal information (full name, address, date of birth, etc.) and a summary of your accounts. Additionally, inquiries will be listed on your account. This is a record of your credit being checked when you apply for a new loan, credit card, apartment rental, etc. There may also be public records on your report. These are bankruptcies, tax liens, or judgments.
In order to monitor what information is on all three reports from the different agencies, it’s important that you get a credit report every so often. Using services like Credit Sesame, you are able to get an annual credit report that will help you to monitor the information that is listed on your reports from all three agencies.
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