Throughout popular culture, the existence of trios is very common. The blind mice, the Stooges, two trios of Star Wars movies and even Harry, Hermione and Ron! There is another trio out there that has far more power over you and you may not even know who they are!
The three I speak of are the biggest credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They collect information about you and everyone you know, recording what you owe to who and if you make your payments on time. Now this probably sounds like some terrible Big Brother scenario, but it’s really not a bad thing! Using this system, it can be determined how ‘credit worthy’ you are to car dealers, mortgage lenders, landlords or even potential employers.
Why are there three different agencies? It’s fairly simple, they are businesses like any other and competition is required to keep everything in check. Having a single agency would be an invitation for errors of all sorts going unchecked. With three major agencies, information from all can be reviewed and discrepancies will be noted much more easily.
It’s important to be aware of what is on your report as the data relies entirely on the information provided by creditors (banks, credit unions, credit card companies and even landlords) and it is possible that errors can exist that may hurt your chances to be approved for a loan or other items.
There are many advertisements out there talking about how you can use their website to view your credit report; however the best source (that has no hidden costs) is www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Here you can view your report for free once per year. I highly recommend you look into it before you find out the hard way!
Are you diligent about checking your credit score every year or only right before you make a big purchase? Let us know in the comments below!