Three companies dominate the credit reporting world. Equifax, Transunion, and Experian (a.k.a. the Big Three) handle about 80% of the credit reports in the world. Wherever I am giving a speech, one question I get asked a lot is, is there one bureau that is nicer/meaner/cooler/more user friendly/more organized than the others? The short answer is not really. The long answer is..well…
While the Big Three handle 80% of the credit reports, the Fair Isaac Company handles 80% of the credit scoring with their classic FICO score. What I mean is if you go to a lender and they check your score there is an 80% chance it will be the FICO score. But contrary to popular belief, there are over one hundred different credit scores out there. Here’s where I am going with this, if you go to www.annualcreditreport.com to check your credit report (and you should) only Equifax will sell you your FICO Score. Transunion and Experian have their own scores they offer, which look and smell like the FICO, but they are NOT the FICO score. So when someone wants to buy one score at annualcreditreport.com, I suggest they buy it from Equifax because that will be their FICO score. (www.myfico.com can help you get FICO scores from the other two)
I do have some compliments for the other two. I’ve found, after looking at hundreds of credit reports, that Experian boasts the most user friendly site (purely my opinion, mind you. What’s yours?) And for business credit reports, Transunion rules that game.
So while no one bureau stands above the rest, each offers some interesting perks to know about.