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There are hundreds of local and regional credit bureaus, but almost all of them maintain a reporting relationship with one of the “Big Three” credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Between them, these credit bureaus maintain credit reports on more than 170 million Americans. The data is used primarily by potential lenders, who check credit reports when determining whether to approve or deny credit applications.
You may have also heard about Innovis. This "fourth credit bureau" collects consumer data and sells it to creditors for the purpose of creating mailing lists. Individuals also should check their own credit reports on a regular basis to make sure the information is correct, and as a means of detecting identity theft.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|