The Credit Reporting Bureaus are not a government agency, they are not your friends. They are a company that is regulated by the Federal Trading Commission. That means these companies are completely separate from any form of government. They are companies in business to make money. And since their business can affect the lives of all Americans, the government makes sure they, like any other business, are not acting unfairly to consumers.
There are three national (main) consumer reporting agencies (CRA's):
Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
Trans Union, LLC.
Equifax Information Services, LLC.
The above are known as "The Big Three"
If your a business owner there is Dunn & Bradstreet, who report business credit worthiness.
How they get your information?
The CRA's can compile information regarding you in many ways. Court records, credit card companies, finance companies, banks, your cel phone company, department stores and many other places that compile infomormation regarding the issue of credit.
Keep in mind one CRA may have different or incomplete information than the other. Not all information is reported to all CRA's.
Build a Better Credit Report
If you've ever applied for a credit card, a personal loan, or insurance, there's a file about you. This file is known as your credit report. It is chock full of information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses with a legitimate need for it. They use the information to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or a lease.
Having a good credit report means it will be easier for you to get loans and lower interest rates. Lower interest rates usually translate into smaller monthly payments.
Nevertheless, newspapers, radio, TV, and the Internet are filled with ads for companies and services that promise to erase accurate negative information in your credit report in exchange for a fee. The scam artists who run these ads not only don't deliver — they can't deliver. Only time, a deliberate effort, and a plan to repay your bills will improve your credit as it's detailed in your credit report.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, has written this booklet to help explain how to build a better credit report. It has six sections:
WHAT IS A CREDIT SCORE?
“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
~ Vince Lombardi
A credit score is a number that represents the statistical probability of you becoming delinquent on loans extended to you.
Credit scores range from 300 to 900, with the majority of scores falling in the range of 500 to 750.
Credit scores were developed by a company called Fair, Isaac & Company (FICO).