[T]here are three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. All of them provide a credit report which lists your personal information and credit accounts. You can get one report for free each year or purchase extra reports through the agency sites. Many people just get one credit report, but you really should get all three.
Not All Information is the Same
Not all creditors report to all three agencies. They may report to only one or even to two. If you only get one report, you may miss out on important information about your credit. Creditors don’t update information on all three sites at the same time either in many cases. One report may show your true balance while another one may be outdated.
You Can Only Dispute with Each Agency
If you find errors on the reports, you must go to each bureau to file a dispute. Just because you dispute an error with Equifax and they fix the issue, it doesn’t mean it will be fixed on the other two reports. If you file a dispute directly with the creditor, they may or may not make the correction with all three. If you have a copy of each credit report, you can compare the information and know if you must take further action.
Lenders Use Different Reports
When you apply for a loan or credit card, you don’t know which agency the creditor will request your credit report form. While Experian is the largest agency, many lenders will request copies from all three. They compare the information to make a decision about your application.
You should know what others will be seeing on your credit report. The only way to do this for certain is by requesting copies of all three credit reports on an annual basis or before you apply for credit or loans.
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