There are dozens of credit monitoring services available, each offering its own unique level of service. But since credit monitoring companies are trying to operate profitably, they do cut corners. One way to do this is by providing your credit report and credit scores from just one of the three major credit bureaus. This may be helpful at some level, but you need your credit scores from all three credit bureaus in order to know what’s really going on with your credit situation.
This is vitally important if you have credit problems you are trying to work out and improve. The only way to do that is by having access to your credit information from all three bureaus. Anything less will enable you to accomplish nothing better than a partial solution.
Why do you need your credit scores from all three credit bureaus?
Not All Creditor Report to All Three Credit Bureaus
Creditors can be selective about which credit repositories they report your credit history to. Why is this important? Let’s say that a lender you have a loan with only reports to Equifax; you will have no idea what your rating is with that company if you only pull a credit report from Experian.
It’s actually not even a unique situation. Certain lenders may report to only one or two of the major credit bureaus. And there are even lenders who don’t report to any credit bureaus at all (obviously, there’s nothing that you can do about that situation).
The point is, the only way to know exactly what is going on with your credit – as in all of your credit – is by having access to both your credit reports and your credit scores from all three of the major credit repositories. If you don’t you will only have partial information about the true state of your credit.
You May Think You Have Clean Credit, But…
It can be downright disappointing if you have an excellent credit rating with a lender, only to discover that the information does not show up on the credit report you are looking at. But it’s far worse if you have a less than positive credit rating with a lender that doesn’t show up. That will leave you believing that you have better credit than you actually do.
This is one of the major reasons why people who have “good credit” get turned down for loans, and are completely surprised by the outcome. That’s because they go into the application process with the belief that they have excellent credit, only to find out otherwise when they apply for a loan.
For example, if you are a regular subscriber to a TransUnion credit report, you may be under the impression that you have perfect credit because Lender X – with whom you had some credit problems in the past – doesn’t report to Transunion. You are then either unaware that the negative information exists, or you may be under the mistaken impression that whatever the past credit problems were, they have been resolved and that’s why they do not appear on your credit report.
But if you’re applying for a loan, and the new lender pulls a credit report by Equifax, or from all three credit bureaus, both the loan and the derogatory information are there for the lender to see. Translation: you and the new lender are looking at two very different credit reports.
The only way to know for certain what the real state of your credit is will be if you have regular access to your credit report from all three major credit bureaus.
Many Lenders Pull Credit From Just One Repository
While some lenders report to only one credit bureau, some only pull credit from one bureau as well. This is also a very common scenario. For example, one of the largest peer-to-peer lenders in the US – Prosper – pulls credit only through Experian, and not TransUnion or Equifax.
Again, if you are applying for a loan with a lender that does not access the same credit report that you are monitoring, you will not know exactly what the new lender is looking at.
The same situation could take place with an insurance policy that you are applying for, or a job you were hoping to land. In each case, the institution could be looking at a different credit report from the one that you see. The institution will evaluate your candidacy based on the credit report that they pull, not the one you monitor.
Credit Reporting Can Be Regional
Though it is certainly not absolute, lenders sometimes report on a regional basis. That might mean that they will report – or access reports – from the credit bureau that is closest to their geographic location. Experian is based in Allen, Texas, Equifax in Atlanta, and TransUnion in Chester, Pennsylvania. Each may attract a disproportionate number of users from their respective corner of the country.
For example, a lender based in Seattle, Washington, may be more likely to report to, and draw reports from, Experian since they are located in Texas, which is closer than either Equifax or Transunion. Meanwhile a lender in New York City may be most likely to work with TransUnion since it is based in Pennsylvania, while a lender in Charlotte, North Carolina my use Equifax exclusively.
Fixing Credit Problems With One Credit Bureau Doesn’t Fix It With The Other Two
This is the most critical reason why you need to have regular access to your credit reports and credit scores from all three of the major credit repositories. If you have credit problems, and you resolve them with one credit bureau, they are not automatically resolved with the other two.
This is why people who have past credit problems keep seeing those problems resurface in the future, even though they are certain that they’ve fixed the issue in the past. Sure, a credit problem may be resolved with Equifax, but it can still appear and reappear on TransUnion and Experian.
The only way to know that a credit problem has been resolved completely is if you do so with each of the three major credit bureaus individually.
It would be wonderful if the system were set up such that resolving a credit problem with one credit bureau would automatically transfer to the other two. But that’s not how it works at all. Any credit problem that you have must be corrected with each of the three major bureaus in order to make the problem go away permanently.
This complication is just one of many hurdles and is a major reason why repairing your credit can be difficult to do by yourself. There is much more to know about how the process works than most people understand. This is why it is so important to get professional help if you have bad credit, and want to fix the problem once and for all. You need to work with someone who knows the in’s and out’s of the credit industry, and knows how to get problems fixed for good. Just make sure it’s a reputable firm and not a scam.