If you’ve ever applied for a credit
card, a personal loan, or insurance, there’s a file about
you. This file contains information on where you work and
live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued,
arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.
Companies that gather and sell this information
are called Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs). The most common
type of CRA is the credit bureau. The information CRAs sell
about you to creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses
is called a consumer report.
type of information do credit bureaus collect and sell?
A. Credit Bureaus collect
and sell four basic types of information. Identification and
employment information Your name, birth date, Social Security
number, employer, and spouse’s name are routinely noted. The
CRA also may provide information about your employment history,
home ownership, income, and previous address, if a creditor
requests this type of information.
Your accounts with different creditors are listed, showing
how much credit has been extended and whether you’ve paid
on time. Related events, such as referral of an overdue account
to a collection agency, may also be noted.
CRAs must maintain a record of all creditors who have asked
for your credit history within the past year, and a record
of those persons or businesses requesting your credit history
for employment purposes for the past two years.
Events that are a matter of public record, such as bankruptcies,
foreclosures, or tax liens, may appear in your report.
Creditors will use the information in these
credit reports to help them decide whether or not you are
able and/or likely to make the payments on the loan or account,
based on your past credit experience. Most creditors actively
cooperate with the credit bureaus, by giving them the very
information that is later resold. The Bureaus work as an information
exchange center for these institutions. For your information,
here is the
law limiting the permissible uses of credit reports.