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How Do Credit Reporting Agencies Get Their Information?

Written by Equifax Experts on July 2, 2014 in Credit  |   6 comments

Your credit report contains a wealth of information, including the types of credit accounts you have, the payment history on those accounts, and any public records in your name. So how does all of that info wind up in one report?

how-do-credit-reporting-agencies-get-their-informationYour credit report contains a wealth of information that is used by lenders to assess your risk as a borrower.

It includes information about your credit accounts—such as the type of account, the date it was opened, your credit limit or loan amount, your account balance, and payment history—as well as any public records or collections that are in your name.

But how do all of these details, which collectively provide lenders a snapshot of your financial and credit life, wind up in one report?

The inner workings of your credit report

The information in your credit report comes directly from companies that have extended you credit in the past or from those with which you have open accounts. Credit card companies, banks, credit unions, retailers, and auto and mortgage lenders all report the details of your credit activity to the credit reporting agencies (CRAs).

CRAs also receive information from debt collectors, and they purchase public records, such as bankruptcies, tax liens, and judgments, from public record providers.

Your creditors report the status of your accounts to Equifax and the other national CRAs according to your payment history, which is the largest factor used to determine your credit score.

If you regularly pay your bills on time, your creditors will report that positive information, which then will reflect positively on your credit score. But if you start to pay late or miss payments altogether, your creditors will also report that negative information, which could lower your credit score.

As you build up your credit history over time by opening new accounts and paying your bills, the CRAs will continue to collect and maintain a timely history of your credit activity.

Your credit score is a moving target. It is updated each time there is a request for a score, and new information received also impacts the model.

If you pull your credit report from each of the three national CRAs, you may find the information to be slightly different. This is because not all creditors report to all three agencies. While most creditors do report to all three, you may hold an account with a creditor that only reports to one, for example, or a creditor that doesn’t report to any.

Additionally, each CRA has its own model for evaluating the information in your credit report and assigning you a credit score. As a result, your score may vary between the three national CRAs—even if all of your creditors report to all three agencies.

Regularly monitor your credit report

You should regularly review your credit report to ensure the information it contains is accurate and up to date because an error could affect your credit score and the way you are perceived by lenders. You can order one free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three national CRAs through AnnualCreditReport.com.

As you comb through your credit report, make sure all of your account information, including your personal details, is correct.

If you do find an error, contact the CRA reporting the mistake and file a dispute. At Equifax, for example, you can file a dispute online, by phone, or by mail.

Following an investigation, the CRA will either update the disputed information—you may be informed that the creditor reporting the information verified that it was correct—or delete the error from your file.

If you do have negative information on your credit report, such as a late payment or an account in collections, you can work on improving your credit score over time by paying your bills when they are due and by keeping your account balances low.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Lorraine m. says:

    I have a Capitol one card, and been payinig in full monthly.. I check my score regular. I notice that the company did not report in a timely matter miss a month. And my score went down 10 points. If we have to pay on a monthly basic why don’t the reporting company report, to the credit company on a monthly bases. Mathis is not fair to the consumers who are trying to keep there credit in good standings. I call ed capitolone they stated that they pay 30 to 60 days..

  2. mason says:

    I made a deposit to my checking account so that would count as an asset. how and why does ch*** bank report this to the agencies?

  3. larsjaeger says:

    to the credit company on a monthly bases.

  4. Candy says:

    I have an address and 3 items in collection that are not mine, I sent a dispute in and Equifax sent me a letter saying the address has been removed and said nothing about the 3 items in collection. I checked and the address is still there and of course the collection items. I really need help. Why isn’t there a person I can talk to and why isn’t the address removed.
    I’m very frustrated.

    • EFX Moderator says:

      We would like to help you address your matter. Please submit your matter/inquiry, along with your legal name, city/state, & email address used for EFX registration, to equifaxsupport@facebook.com so that a Customer Support agent can respond to you directly.

  5. Paul says:

    I carry the mortgage on a home I sold a few years ago. The mortgagee has never been late with payments and I would like to report this information to Equifax to help them establish good credit. How do I as an individual go about doing that? THanks.

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