What Are The Three Credit Bureaus?


Most people are familiar with the phrases “credit”, “credit score”, and “credit report”, but few people understand the intricacies of the credit system. The one thing that consumers have trouble understanding is the differences between the three credit reports and the three credit bureaus that produce them. It’s a confusing system for many; each credit report contains information that the other two bureaus do not report on. This is a breakdown of the three reporting bureaus, and the differences between the them:



There are a few things that Experian does differently. They are the only report that specifically reports on-time rent payments (if your rent management company works & reports to Experian RentBureau). The other reports only highlight the times when rent was not paid on time.  Experian also provides “status details” on the items on your report. The status details explains the month and year that an item is scheduled to be removed from your credit report. (Positive payment history stays on for 10 years. Negative items may vary, and Experian takes the guess work out for you.)



TransUnion provides the most detailed employment section of the three credit bureaus. Experian and Equifax only provide the employers’ names (and even then, that’s not guaranteed). In stark contrast, TransUnion lists out the employers’ names, the position held at the company, the date that employment commenced. They also provide the opportunity to change and correct any information that is reported incorrectly. The employment information does not factor into the credit score, but it does provide potential lenders information on how long you’ve been with your current employer, and how long you’ve stayed in past positions.



Both Experian and Equifax list all of the accounts on a credit report together in alphabetical order. Equifax however, separates and lists accounts based on whether they are open or closed. This allows individuals who are not sure about the status of various accounts to easily determine which accounts they need to focus on (in terms of amount of debt, etc.) Equifax also provides information on why particular accounts are closed.


For sources, see here and here.