Most people are aware of the "big three" credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – and that the credit scores issued by these three bureaus have a significant impact on their ability to get loans and good interest rates. However, most people do not know that there are companies other than the big three that keep tabs on your credit, as well as other consumer behaviors.
These specialty credit-reporting companies generally stick to a specific type of credit or aspect of consumer behavior. While they are not as comprehensive as the big three credit bureaus, an error in one of these reports can cause you the same sort of credit problems.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has gathered a significant list of these specialty credit-reporting companies and classified them by type.
- Supplemental/Alternative Credit Reports – These are auxiliaries to the big three, diving into details such as bill payment records, employment histories, property records, tax payments, rental applications, and child support mandates. Companies include CoreLogic, MicroBilt, and LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
- Check Screeners – They provide services for retailers for check acceptance by reviewing bank account and check writing/overdraft histories. Companies include TeleCheck and ChexSystems.
- Payday Lending – These companies focus on payday loans and subprime consumer lending, gathering information on the consumers and providing it to the lenders. Companies include Clarity Services, DataX, and TeleTrack.
- Rental – Specializing in rental history for tenant background screening. Companies include CoreLogic SafeRent and First Advantage Resident History.
- Other – National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange covers utility and telecommunication records for connections, payments, defaults, and accounts found to be fraudulent. Certegy Gaming Services supplies casinos with information allowing management to decide whether to extend credit to patrons.
A fairly comprehensive list with websites and addresses may currently be accessed on the CFPB website at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201207_cfpb_list_consumer-reporting-agencies.pdf. The list is not all-inclusive, but it does give a good overview of the types of monitoring that takes place on your history and accounts. It also covers monitoring that is less related to credit, such as medical, insurance, and employment histories.
The Fair Credit Act (FCA) applies to the majority of these companies just as it does for the big three, so you are allowed one free copy of your report annually. Companies that are exempt from the FCA must still supply a report to you but can charge you a fee (although if information in the report causes you to be denied for some form of financial service, you may receive a free copy).
Should you try to gather reports from all of these companies? It probably would not be worth your time to track every last report. Unless you have reason for concern in one of these specialized categories, monitoring your credit through a service like Credit Manager by MoneyTips should be adequate coverage. However, it is good to know these other monitoring entities exist. In case there is an erroneous report, you can try resolving it with a single click using our credit correction service.
It may be scary to realize that so many groups are tracking your consumer behavior and credit history – but down deep, didn't you already know that was happening?
You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.