Consumer Reporting Agencies (Credit Bureaus)
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) the legal term for a credit bureaus is consumer reporting agencies — often abbreviated in the industry as CRA.
The agencies that govern, set guidelines for for both the credit reporting agencies and data furnishers are the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), and Regulation B. Also two government bodies share responsibility for the oversight of credit bureaus and those that furnish information to them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has oversight for the consumer credit reporting agencies. The Office of the Controller of the Currency (OCC) charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks with regard to the data they furnish credit reporting agencies.
There are four major national credit bureaus
- Experian (formerly TRW Information Systems & Services and the CCN Group)
- Innovis (which was purchased from First Data Corporation in 1999 by CBC Companies).
These are Business Credit Bureaus:
- Dun & Bradstreet
- Experian Business
- Equifax Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE)
- Southeastern Association of Credit Management (SACM).
These are for profit companies and have no association with the government. They have however formed a trade organization called the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) to establish reporting standards and lobby on their behalf. Consumers are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Consumers can go to annualcreditreport.com, the Internet site maintained by the three companies, to get a free report.
To order your free annual credit report from one or all of the national credit reporting companies, and to purchase your credit score, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free 877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P. O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
To contact the credit bureaus: