Credit Bureaus

Credit Bureaus 2018-01-26T23:39:50+00:00

Overview

The three main credit bureaus all operate independently of each other, so they don’t share information or communicate at all. Thus, your credit file from each bureau may be slightly different. It’s a good idea to review each of your reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, so you can verify everything is accurate.

If you find something is inaccurate on any of your reports, you’ll want to dispute it, which you can do on your own. It is important to note that if an error appears on multiple reports, you’ll need to file a separate dispute with each bureau reporting the misinformation. You can file disputes with each of the major credit reporting agencies via their websites or by mail.

Federal law entitles you to one free credit report from each bureau every twelve months. You can request your free annual credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. If you need to get an additional credit report during the year, you can purchase one directly from each of the major credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union have available credit reports that include all three main credit reports on a single page.

Credit Bureau Contact Information

How do I lift a freeze? 2018-01-09T19:32:40+00:00

In a few states, credit freezes expire after seven years. In the vast majority of states, a freeze remains in place until you ask the credit reporting company to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. A credit reporting company must lift a freeze no later than three business days after getting your request. The cost to lift a freeze varies by state.

If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit reporting company the business will contact for your file, you can save some money by lifting the freeze only at that particular company.

How do I place a freeze on my credit reports? 2018-01-09T19:32:12+00:00

Contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies:

You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. Fees vary based on where you live, but commonly range from $5 to $10.

After receiving your freeze request, each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.

Can anyone see my credit report if it is frozen? 2018-01-09T19:31:12+00:00

Certain entities still will have access to it.

  • your report can be released to your existing creditors or to debt collectors acting on their behalf.
  • government agencies may have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.
Does a credit freeze stop prescreened credit offers? 2018-01-09T19:30:44+00:00

No. If you want to stop getting prescreened offers of credit, call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or go online. The phone number and website are operated by the nationwide credit reporting companies. You can opt out for five years or permanently. However, some companies send offers that are not based on prescreening, and your federal opt-out right will not stop those kinds of solicitations.

As you consider opting out, you should know that prescreened offers can provide many benefits, especially if you are in the market for a credit card or insurance. Prescreened offers can help you learn about what’s available, compare costs, and find the best product for your needs. Because you are pre-selected to receive the offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances. The terms of prescreened offers also may be more favorable than those that are available to the general public. In fact, some credit card or insurance products may be available only through prescreened offers.

Does a credit freeze affect my credit score? 2018-01-09T19:29:37+00:00

No. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score.

A credit freeze also does not:

  • prevent you from getting your free annual credit report
  • keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. But if you’re doing any of these, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. The cost and lead times to lift a freeze vary, so it’s best to check with the credit reporting company in advance.
  • prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
What is a credit freeze? 2018-01-09T19:28:50+00:00

Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your file, they may not extend the credit.

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