Choosing Your Credit Bureau

TransUnion, Equifax and Experian

TransUnion , Equifax and Experian are the three main credit bureaus currently keeping tabs on the credit habits of American citizens. Which is best suited to your needs? How to choose?

The quick answer: they are all important; and you don’t have to.

Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of TransUnion, Equifax and Experian credit bureaus each year. If we at can offer you one piece of advice, it’s this: get all three. Take advantage of this right. It’s fairly new - it wasn’t long ago when credit reports and credit scores were kept shielded from the very consumers they described – but don’t wait any longer.

Equifax, established in 1899, is the oldest of the three companies. TransUnion was created in 1968; Experian was founded in 1980. Although the agencies are of slightly different sizes and offer some different features, they all offer similar credit reporting services to consumers.

TransUnion, Equifax and Experian are all used by creditors to supply and retrieve information. Just as creditors may choose to look at one or all three, all credit bureaus have the ability to look at your credit history. But they might not all find the same thing.

There are two primary reasons for carefully examining your annual credit report. The first is, simply, to see how your credit rating is doing. If you have a great/high credit rating, you’ll have different (and better) options in mortgages, bank services, rental properties and sometimes even jobs than someone with a poor rating. If you have a poor credit rating, though, you need to know it. There are actions you can take to help fix the situation and get on the way to good credit again.


Secondly, check your credit reports to make sure they reflect accurately what is going on in your life. Comparing credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian will help you do this. Not all of the credit bureaus end up with the same information. There may be irregularities visible in one and not the others. Unusual credit use could indicate fraud, an attempt at identity theft or card misuse.

Many private companies offer credit monitoring services, most of which include a 3-in-1 credit report. This means the information from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian will be merged into one document for easy reading and is a great tool for self-monitoring. Check out the reviews here at to help you find the right company (at the right price!) for you.

When you obtain your reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, either separately or together, take time to make sure all the information is correct. You may not be necessarily the victim of fraud, but human error does slip into the process sometimes. Someone else may share your name; there have been cases where family members have been mixed up. It’s in your best interest to verify these important documents.

If you do find an error, your credit report monitoring service should be able to help you out. A good customer service team should answer your questions and provide the tools you need to contest any of your findings. Thousands of people turn to the information and resources on this website to get started. Even a simple error in any of your TransUnion, Equifax or Experian reports may affect your life in all sorts of surprising ways.

Play it safe – get reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, either separately or, ideally, merged together in your best credit report.


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