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When a person wants to get a copy of their credit report they would normally request it from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. These are the top three credit reporting agencies. The problem is that each of these three agencies will have slightly different information on them, which could be critical. For obvious reasons, it will always be more beneficial to order a merged credit report, where all of the information on each report is available. This way there are no surprises when you are applying for a mortgage, an auto loan, or just trying to clean up some of the smudges on your past.
Your merged credit report is full of relevant information that includes a detailed history of your credit activities, information about where you have lived, worked, and borrowed money from, as well as information about who has reviewed your credit history. This information is used to calculate your Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score. This system is the best-known and most widely used credit score model in the United States.
Possible creditors use the information on a merged credit report to calculate what rates, terms and products an individual qualifies for. These numbers will determine what is offered on credit cards, loans, and more recently, even employment.
A credit score is compromised of many different factors. To make the process even more complicated, each credit bureau has a different formula that they use to determine a FICO score. Therefore, an individual could have three different credit scores with three different credit bureaus. Of course, this just complicates the process. In an attempt to eliminate the confusion, the credit bureaus created one basic score which is referred to as a merged credit report.
When an individual applies for any lines of credit, the lender will pull all three credit reports from the credit bureaus. This will give them a clear look at what that individual has done in the past. What the lenders see on these credit reports is going to determine what the interest rate might be. Checking a merged credit report also ensures that the reports are accurate. There are many times when inaccurate information is found on credit reports but many never know that it is there until a copy is ordered and read over. This is often the way that many cases of identity theft and fraud are discovered as well.
@Soulfox -- The thing I like about a merged report is that you get a view of everything at once. Heck, file disputes according to the instructions that come with the report and you will be fine.
To each his own, of course, but I like the merged report. I do see how some people prefer going through all three reports, but I just do not have that kind of time.
A merged credit report is convenient, but I still like to pull reports from all three bureaus when checking for identity theft or looking for information in my credit history that is not accurate. Also, each credit bureau has a different way to dispute claims so you will need to get the specific information to dispute from the report provided by the agency at issue.
Here is something else. The federal government allows you to pull one free credit report per year from each of the major credit companies. There is no such deal going with a merged report.
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