Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) are companies that collect information and provide reports on individuals that are used to decide whether to provide them consumer credit, insurance, employment and for other approved purposes. The most common type of CRA is the credit bureau which generates credit reports. CRA are neutral third parties who collect, aggregate and disperse data.
A credit report contains information on where individuals have worked, lived, as well as personal identifying information such as aliases, spouses name, Social Security number and date of birth. It also will show who else has pulled a credit report in the past two years.
The majority of the credit report will consist of the consumer credit history, sometimes referred to as “tradelines”. These tradelines show each individual account that is active or has been active within the past seven years. Typical information included in the tradelines section is the creditor’s name, account number and the status of the account. If an account is delinquent, the credit report will also state the length of the delinquency.
Depending on an individual’s credit history; there may be a public records section on their credit report. This section shows tax liens, judgment liens and overdue court-ordered child support as well as bankruptcy filings.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) entitles all consumers to receive one free credit report annually from each of the three national credit bureaus. It is advisable for individuals to review their credit reports before applying for any new credit. Doing so will allow them to resolve any outstanding issues before they become problems during the credit application process.
You can receive your free report annual from each of the three national credit bureaus at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you need to contact the three national credit bureaus directly their information is below:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
Trans Union LLC
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022