Top 14 Lesser Known Credit BureausSuggested by SMS
With the economy crumbling and fortune 500 companies lining up to get a bailout it is hardly surprising that people are beginning to get a lot more interested in the workings of the Credit Bureaus. The fact is that credit and the way people’s credit ratings are decided probably has a lot to do with it. It has certainly come under fire in recent months. So we are left to wonder what are these companies, and what do they do? How do they affect us?
Most people have heard of the Big 3 Credit Bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Trans Union Corp. These companies provide credit scores to indicate the chances of an individual paying back a loan. But there are a number of other Credit Bureaus, or Consumer Rating Agencies (CRA’s) that are hired to provide ratings based on other factors, and most people are blissful unaware of how much of their lives is open to employers, landlords, and credit agencies. All these rating agencies come under the same regulation, that of the Fair Credit reporting Act (FCRA). Credit reports then, are just one better known aspect of Credit Bureaus.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy a list of companies you have never heard of who have a surprising amount of influence on your life.
14. MIB (Medical Information Bureau)
The MIB provides information to insurances companies on their applicants. They are a membership company, meaning only insurance agents signed up with MIB can get the information, if requested. But they are insistent that no private information is ever revealed. Few people have an MIB record, but they are one of the most important agencies in the medical insurance field. In a sense MIB is looking for people who are potentially seeking insurance fraudulently, and thus trying to save the companies money. They would want to point out that doing this helps keep premiums low as excessive and unwarranted claims cost insurance companies money that they recover by raising the premiums on everybody. But they do assigned a rating for applicants looking for medical insurance and this particular field of consumer rating has come under fire in a number of Lawsuits recently. After all f they give a high risk factor to a person who has a lot of past medical activity it would essential stop them from being able to obtain medical insurance from any one of its 470 members.
13. Moody’s (global CRA)
This is a global company with a 40 per cent stake in the Credit Rating Market. Moody’s, a CRA, will give an investor or company a good idea of if an investment will pay off as well as it should but it has recently started to give creditors a likely assessment of if a person is likely to pay back a loan or keep up with an investment. This Credit Bureau offers long term ratings for the likely hood of a fixed income being able to pay back a loan and short term ratings and short term tax exempt ratings, for debts no longer then 13 months. For an individual it is no different than Experian, Equifax Trans Corp or Innovis other than you can hire them to asses you potential investments. But for a small business this is a global player that might have a say in you future ventures.
This company is used by insurance agents to get a history of consumer’s prescription drug purchases. Just like with MIB this information is used when assessing the risk of taking on a new client on for medical insurance. The database includes information of dosage, refills as well as what drugs have been used. As such our past prescriptions are being used by these companies to form an opinion of us even though they have been issued legitimately. This kind of practice went largely unknown and in 2007 several lawsuits were filed. The result is that if anyone is turned down on the basis of one of these reports the individual is allowed to request a copy to find out why. The responsibility for regulation Credit Bureaus rests with the government and this is done through the Federal Trade Commission, (FTC.) The standard to which Credit Bureaus are held, and CRA’s as well, is known as the Fair Credit reporting (FCRA.) But it still doesn’t stop them from turning you down because of the prescriptions you have used in the past.
11. PRBC (Payment Reporting Builds Credit)
This company is known as the 5th Credit Bureau. But it does things differently. At PRBC customers, you and I, can sign up and repot personnel recurring non-debt payments. This means you can report when you pay the gas bill, electric bill, rent and so on to help build good credit. This is not ordinarily reported by Experian, Equifax, Trans Union Corp or Innovis. It was originally named ‘Pay rent, Build Credit’ but in 2002 it was renamed to highlight the fact that any recurring bill can be used to build credit, and credit scores, for people and small businesses. In short the company enables you to build a good credit score without having to take out a credit card or loan: something that could be very helpful in these uncertain times.
10. Innovis (CBCinnovis)
Not as well known as the ‘Big 3’ it is often referred to as the 4th credit bureau. In fact you will be lucky to hear about it from anyone handing out advice about credit repair. It was bought by CBC in 1999, (though it still claims the history, saying it has been active for over 50 years on its website.) Unlike the Big 3 Innovis doesn’t sell customer credit history to lenders, instead it focuses on helping creditors decide who to put on their mailing list. Literally deciding who gets the mail promising ‘rock bottom interest rates’ on brand new credit cards, etc. But it does use the same basic information as Experian, Equifax and Trans Union Corp that tells them who has been late on loan payments to do this. While it is a new company it seems to be doing well and has been reported providing more accurate credit reports on occasion then the Big 3. While you could be quick to judge a firm responsible for credit card offers falling on your doorstep, you might want to consider if new blood isn’t what you really want in a time of failing old businesses.
You are probably beginning to get the idea. Credit Bureaus do not stop at credit scores or even loan payments and credit card bills. Insurance and loan companies have a variety of information available to them if they contact certain CRA’s. Telecheck is one that tracks checks. This company reports on an individual’s recorded check writing history. TeleCheck also has a lot of stored information listing returned checks and fraudulent checks. There is also a verification tool for its members. It is a merchant Credit Bureau that tries to gather and purchase information on the public so as to better predict and alert sellers to fraud. However at this point it seems like another faceless company that spends a lot of time and money to make more a living selling consumer ratings based on personnel information available in a digital age.
Essentially a Credit Bureau is a company that records vast amount of information about people in order to assign a risk assessment to mollify insurance and loan companies. In a sense everyone is an unknown risk to the sellers and these companies try to decide the extent of that risk. But there are a number of other companies that work to assess other risks. Medpoint is another CRA database that provides prescription profiling for insurance companies. These companies like IntelliScript and Medpoint provide consumer ratings to assess what kind of risk we are to the insurance company. Since 2007 people have noticed this kind of profiling and several lawsuits have resulted in individuals being able to request copies of the reports if they are turned down because of them. This was mandated because of the regulations contained in the FCRA, which also governs the Big 3 Credit Bureaus.
SCAN is short for “Shared Check Authorization Network”. In a nutshell, SCAN is largest database of known bad check writers. If you have ever bounced a check, SCAN is aware of you. This credit reporting agency boasts processing over 7 million check transactions a day, and 150,000 updates every night from its retail clients. Their client list is massive. Just about every national chain you have ever heard of from Wal-mart and K-mart to Home Depot and IKEA as well as almost every small retailer in the USA today. They also collect information from Chexsystems to help “red-flag” potential bad check writers. If you have handed a check to a teller and had it denied despite having the money in your account to cover the check, you may want to call SCAN at:
6. First advantage SafeRent
Finally, though I have found it impossible to decide on an order of importance for these companies, we have an example of a CRA working for employers and Landlords. This is one of the many companies landlords and employers can use to get a risk assessment and rating for their applicants. First Advantage SafeRent also advertises that it looks into Renters insurance claims and criminal background checks. It may be frustrating to get a copy of your employment assessment rating because there are simply so many companies that do this. Fortunately under the regulation of the FCRA job hunters do have some extra rights. For instance an employer has to inform you that they are going to run a background check. So it might be a good idea to ask what agency they use, so that you can obtain a copy of the report. The assessment of a renter or employer for criminal charges is more than understandable, but as we have seen there is a lot more information available, and given the rating system it seems likely that more than one person has lost a job or an apartment because of a CRA’s risk rating.
A rating score can never tell the whole story, but there seem to be enough of ratings about all of us to fill an entire book.
5. C.L.U.E Auto
- Specialty: Auto insurance claims history
CLUE auto is also a subsidiary of Choicepoint. Instead of property insurance claims, this reporting agency collects information on…You guessed it, auto insurance claims! Insurance agencies share information. If you have made auto insurance claims in the past, from a total write off to a minor repair in the last 7 years, CLUE auto can have a detailed report about it. The report will include information such as the model and serial number of the car involved, your insurance issuer at the time of claim and claim amounts paid to you.
They can be reached by phone at:
Or online at: www.choicetrust.com
4. ISO Insurance Services
- Specialty: Risk Management
This is the big one. ISO has a whole family of companies under it that collect and analyze data about, well…Everything. Including you. They use this enormous and varying amount of information to calculate risk for insurance companies and anyone else who is willing to pay for it. Much like many of the other reporting agencies mentioned in this list, ISO is able to put together a report for you or about you. From drivers license reports to employment history’s and credit reports. They can also formulate risk analysis for natural or man-made catastrophes. Evaluate your individual risk for health, property and auto insurance. As well as tools for Background checks, employment screening, and drug-testing products. They even have a company that specializes in preventing mortgage fraud. If there is a red flag alongside your name in any type of credit or data collection agency, ISO can probably locate all of it and put it altogether in a nice little package and sell it to whatever entity is asking about you including one of their biggest clients, the Unites States Government.
They can be reached by phone at:
Or online at: www.iso.com
This company is a leading supplier of electronic check payments on the web. Their job is to maintain a database for consumers and make sure that the details the consumer is supplying on the web match what they have compiled. Web merchant signs up with Certegy for the e-checking service and all of their payments are processed through them. Certegy then guarantees payment to the merchant after the consumer has been authorized. The information that they collect is name, address and driver’s license numbers as well as details on customers mortgage, car, student loan history and credit cards. They also check for returned checks and fraud. These processes protect the merchant from accepting false credit cards or bad checking information.
To obtain a copy of your free annual disclosure from Certegy you can write them at:
Certegy Check Services
Or you can call them on their toll-free telephone number:
Certegy Check Services is
This is an automated service and you will have to enter your driver’s license or state ID number, date of birth, checking account number, and zip code using the keypad on your touch-tone telephone.
2 Central Credit
This company is quite surprising. They collect data on millions of gaming patrons. Using their databanks, casinos can get credit reports on their gamblers, social security number verification, bank ratings, and updates on marker activity. This also helps the cage operations with the decisions for casino credit or markers.
Visit their website: http://www.globalcashaccess.com./Cash_Access/Central_Credit.html
To contact Central Credit call . It has not been verified that they will supply you with a personal report as I have not received an answer from the company or found anything on the website stating so.
A daughter company of eFunds ChexSystems was a check verification service that became designated a CRA, (Consumer Rating Service), in 1999. This meant that it was now governed by the FTC and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA.) It specializes in assessing new applicants to commercial banks by judging their persons banking activity instead of credit lines. In other words instead of basing its rating on how well you are keeping up with your car payment it looked at the deposit activity of your bank accounts in the past. It reportedly serves over 9,000 banks including local branches. A high number of commercial banks and credit unions use ChexSystems when considering applicants for checking and savings accounts. Most institutions will not let you open an account if you get a negative report from ChexSystems. To begin with, unlike most CRA’s who report both positive and negative information, ChexSystems tended to report on only negative activity. It did not consider a risk assessment, like a FICO score, but whether an applicant had any negative activity in their past. As such people found they could end up blacklisted, essential cutting you off, for a single banking error 10 years before. Scary! But in 2000 there was reform after a considerable amount of complaint. Now customers can enjoy a number of improvements including a background check limited to 3 years by ChexSystems, workers trained to gauge risk as well as negative activity, and the customer will not be reported until several attempts have been made to contact them. So it’s a little better now. Being turned down for a bank account, let alone having a bad Credit rating from ChexSystems, does nothing to help your overall credit score!
And we all thought there were just 3 credit report bureaus!
Some of these business’s may seem like a stretch when talking about credit bureaus, but when you really think about what in fact a credit bureau or CRA’s (Credit reporting agency) is, it is simply a place that gathers information about a specific persons history to help the creditor/lender/leaser/insurer determine how much of a risk you are.
If you have managed to get this far in life without missing a payment of any kind for everything from a mortgage payment to the water and utilities bills we all see every month, then you will be noted as a much sought after customer from credit to cars to a rental apartment in Manhattan if you so desire. However, if you have ever totaled a car in a drunk driving accident, information is posted, shared and sent. Then gathered, collected and compiled to describe what a risk you may be for money, job’s, insurance and even a roof over your head.
Although it does seem daunting to know that there are all these various reporting entities diligently gathering every little fact they can legally get their hands on about you, you don’t have to worry. You have the truth on your side. These companies are only allowed to gather information deemed “Public” by our government. They simply specialize in finding it.
As with the big 3 credit reporting bureaus most, if not all of these information gathering specialists have grant you access to any information they have on you at least once every 12 month’s upon request, and have methods in place for you to dispute any misinformation about you that they may be reporting.