What Are Credit Bureaus ?
Credit bureaus keep information about every person that allows lenders and others to make credit decisions. There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union and each of these have customers (companies) that report on their customers monthly. That means that if you are late in paying a utility bill, for example, your utility company may report you to credit bureaus. Credit bureaus can then share this information about you with other customers (lenders) who are qualified by law to see your credit information. Whether you want to buy a home, lease a building, apply for a credit card, or apply for car financing, your good standing with credit bureaus is crucial in order to ensure that you qualify for good interest rates and to ensure that you can complete the financial transactions you wish to complete. Credit bureaus are prohibited by laws under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) from providing your credit information to just anyone - only persons who have direct interest in your financial status and who qualify to view your credit reports may do so. You can help credit bureaus in providing accurate information about yourself to potential lenders. The first thing you can do to help the credit bureaus help you is to maintain good credit scores by paying your bills on time, avoiding excessive borrowing, and generally behaving in a responsible way. The second thing you can do to help credit bureaus is to ensure that the information they have about you is accurate and up-to-date. You can get a copy of your credit report and check for inaccuracies. If you find any mistakes, you can let credit bureaus know by visiting www.ftc.gov or www.truecredit.com/dispute. If you have been the victim of identity theft, you should file for a 90_day security alert with credit bureaus and contact police as well. You can also help credit bureaus provide accurate information about you by making your identity clear on applications. This means that each time you apply for financing, you should use the same name - whether than is first initials or full name with middle name - in order to avoid confusion. Some people are reluctant to provide social security numbers on their applications, but providing this information can help credit bureaus identify you. When you provide a social security number to a lender, that lender can get accurate information about you, not about someone else with the same name.
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