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Getting credit used to be more complex since there wasn't always an easy way to access credit history information without contacting each lender directly. This led to a point where local credit agencies tracked information about you in that region. Now, a financial institution can easily find out everything they need to know about you by contacting any of the three big credit report agencies.
While they all compete against each other, many financial institutions report your information to each one on a regular basis. This allows your credit report to be reviewed no matter where you go in the