The History of the Three Credit Bureaus
Updated: Sep 25, 2021
There are three main CRA’s that report consumer’s information; Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. These major CRA’s collect data for your credit report and sell the information to lenders, creditors, employers, and insurance companies. These credit bureaus make billions of dollars per year.
Experian – Global company founded in 1980 with corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and Nottingham, England. Experian collects information on people, businesses, and motor vehicles. Founded originally as CCN as a direct marketing and information services company, Experian was the first company in the UK to develop a system for marketing credit scoring.
From 1980 to 1995, CCN became known nationally for developing software for anti fraud and data collection. In 1996, a leading supplier of information solutions was acquired which merged with CCN to form Experian.
Equifax - Founded in 1899, Equifax is the oldest of the three agencies and gathers and maintains information on over 400 million credit holders worldwide. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax is a global service provider with US $1.5 billion in annual revenue and 7,000+ employees in 14 countries.
Originally name Retail Credit Company, Equifax grew to have offices all over the United States and Canada by 1920. In 1960, Retail Credit Company had accumulated profiles on millions of consumers and became one of the largest credit bureaus. Retail Credit Company was largely criticized during the 1960’s for it’s willingness to sell information on an individual to anybody. It also collected data on virtually any aspects on an individual life such as political connections, sex lives, and smoking habits.
The FCRA prompted Retail Credit Company to change the way that they collected information, allowed their consumers to get copies of their report, and it was widely led to believe that they changed their name to Equifax to change their image.
Equifax sells businesses credit reports, analytics, demographic data, and software. Credit reports provide detailed information on the personal credit and payment history of individuals, indicating how they have honored financial obligations such as paying bills or repaying a loan. Businesses then use this information to decide what sort of products or services to offer their customers, and on what terms.
Beginning in 1999, Equifax began offering products that help people monitor their credit history, including alerting consumers to the possibility of their being a victim of credit fraud or identity theft. Equifax, and other credit monitoring agencies are required by law to provide US citizens with one free credit file disclosure every 12 months, which may be requested online at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Transunion – Created in 1968 by Union Tank Company, Transunion got into the credit reporting business by acquiring the Credit Bureau of Cook County. Based out of Chicago, Illinois, Transunion built up it’s company by acquiring credit bureaus across the country.
Like the previous two CRA’s, Transunion makes their money by selling consumer information to lenders, insurance, and credit card companies.
Carl Agard is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of Boss XL Magazine and the Author of the Book "Financially Surviving COVID19 (Deleting Derogatory Credit)"