The average consumer is aware of the three big credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. When applying for credit, most consumers are aware that lenders review your credit report to see if you are “credit-worthy” before they decide whether or not to lend you money. Most often, the reports being reviewed are from one or all of the big three reporting agencies. However, there are dozens of other reporting companies that store your credit information and are sharing it with your potential lenders.
The main reason that Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union exist is to provide lenders with your financial information. Additional reporting agencies, also referred to as data brokers, exist to provide lenders with your personal information, including your ability to repay your bills, your employment history, driving records, bank account information, etc. So while you may be familiar with the big three, financial experts say there are approximately 50 plus major consumer reporting agencies that report different types of information on you.
Some of these agencies collect information that the big three do not, such as cell phone and utility bill history. These agencies, sometimes referred to as supplementary agencies, include Innovis, Lexis Nexis, CoreLogic, CredCo, and SageStream.
Another type of agency is employment screeners. Employment screeners provide reports to potential employers looking to hire, promote, or fire employees. These agencies include Intellicorp, HireRight, Checkr, and Sterling Talent Solutions. When applying for a job, an employer must obtain your consent to conduct an employment background check and it must provide you with the name of the agency it uses to obtain the information.