What is a credit reporting company?

Answer: Credit reporting companies, also known as credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies, are companies that compile and sell credit reports.

Among other information, credit reporting companies collect credit account information including the original amount of a loan, the credit limit on a credit card, the balance on a credit card or other loan, and the payment status of the account; items sent for collection; and public records, such as judgments and bankruptcies.

Credit reporting companies can gather information from many sources including:

  • Thousands of lenders across the country
  • Public records, such as bankruptcies, garnishments, liens, and other judgments
  • Collections agencies, which provide information on delinquent accounts

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that provides directions and limits on how credit reporting companies disclose credit report information. For example, the FCRA permits credit reporting companies to provide credit reports only to those users who have a permissible purpose listed in the law.

Other reporting companies, including specialty consumer reporting companies, may collect personal information in addition to credit information including, but not limited to, your employment and tenant history as well as publically available data.

Get a list of all consumer reporting companies, and read about your rights under the FCRA.

Read full answer Hide full answer