When people think of credit bureaus, they usually think there are only 3: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. While these organizations play a big role in your life, they aren’t the only companies controlling your financial destiny.
There Are More Than 3 Credit Bureaus
In reality, there are over 40 consumer reporting agencies that operate in the US. Most of the others, outside of the big three, function in a specific niche. However, that doesn’t make them any less powerful.
Reports from these agencies may determine if you can obtain credit. These reports also determine access to insurance products, landing a job, or even your ability to pay with a check. The companies share information with a range of businesses, utilities, and government entities. They are also diligent about collecting data on you.
If you are wondering what the other credit bureaus mean to you, here’s an overview of each category and the companies in that space.
Low-Income and Subprime
Low-income and subprime reporting agencies focus on financial data that applies mostly to the low-income segment of the population. This includes the use of payday loans, check cashing services, rent-to-own arrangements, subprime credit cards, subprime mortgages, the opening of telecommunications accounts, and more.
Data in these reports can impact your ability to secure new credit, and not just in the subprime space.
These organizations function in multiple areas, supplementing data in specific niches. This can include anything from property records to ID verifications to child support obligations.
Employment screening organizations focus on data that pertains to your employment, educational, salary, and credit histories. In some cases, they may also track criminal activities, like past convictions. They can also look at fingerprints from criminal record databases, or drug testing results.
Here are some of the most commonly used organizations in this category:
- Accurate Background
- American DataBank
- First Advantage Corporation
- General Information Services, Inc.
- Info Cubic
- Sterling Talent Solutions
- Trak 1
- The Work Number
When a potential employer wants to look at your history, these are the kinds of agencies they contact. However, you typically must provide authorization before a company can look at these reports.
Once they get the report, a potential employer may refuse to hire you. Especially if this is in accordance with internal policies and based on the information they discover.
Many landlords pull consumer reports to determine if renting to particular applicants is a smart decision. Companies that operate in this space provide information about past evictions. They also report payment issues and address history. Some report on criminal background data as well, though this isn’t universal.
- Contemporary Information Corp.
- CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions
- Experian RentBureau
- First Advantage Corporation Residential History Report
- LeasingDesk (Real Page, Inc.)
- Screening Reports, Inc.
- Tenant Data Services
- TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions
In many cases, landlords obtain permission before running these reports. However, details about these checks may be in the rental application, so separate notification may not occur.
If a landlord sees adverse actions or criminal information, they may decline to allow an applicant to become a tenant.
Checks and Banking
Check and bank screening reports track details about a person’s history with banking services. This includes previously writing bad checks, the reason for account closures, and activities that relate to fraud.
- Certegy Check Services
- CrossCheck, Inc.
- Early Warning Services
- Global Payments Check Services, Inc.
- TeleCheck Services
Data on these reports can affect your ability to open bank accounts or write checks at various retailers.
Personal Property Insurance
When a home, renters, or auto insurance company wants to determine your rate or decide whether to offer you a policy, they probably check with one of the consumer bureaus listed below. These organizations track information about past insurance claims. They also look at losses and damages, current and previous coverage, driving records, and more.
Depending on the information in your report, you may experience higher premiums or the inability to secure a new policy.
As with the personal property space, consumer reports also impact medical insurance decisions. These agencies track details about medical conditions. These companies also track prescription drug purchases, past claims, and similar data.
The details in your report can affect the issuing of new insurance policies, the cost of your premiums, or the cancellation of policies.
In this segment, the National Consumer Telecommunications & Utilities Exchange is the largest consumer reporting agency. They collect information on utility bills, including payment histories, new accounts, unpaid bills, and fraud.
Retailers use The Retail Equation to look for signs of fraud and abuse. When it comes to product returns and exchanges; retailers can’t be too careful.
Casinos and other gaming companies can get specialized reports from VIP Preferred . They look for fraud and abuse, mostly in the check cashing arena.
How To Get Access To These Reports
As with your big three credit reports, you do have the ability to check these consumer reports. Contact each agency to see if you are eligible for free reports. Some may offer free reports, while others charge a low fee.
Typically, if a consumer report leads to an adverse action, you can request a copy at no cost.
Contact the organization by using the links above to determine what you need to do to receive a copy of the information.
Have you ever interacted with one of these alternative consumer reporting agencies? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Looking for more great information about credit? Here are some articles to get you started:
- Why You Should Check Your Credit Report and Credit Score
- Credit Karma vs Annual Credit Report: Which is Better?
- Beware of Annual Credit Report Scams
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