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TransUnion® is a global company whose main business is consumer credit reporting. Part of a group commonly referred to as “the big three” in the consumer credit industry, with the other two leaders being Equifax and Experian®, TransUnion® is the third largest consumer credit reporting company in the United States. Though they provide services other than consumer credit reporting, this is the business aspect for which they are best recognized. TransUnion® has locations throughout the world, with their headquarters being located in Chicago, Illinois and primary US consumer locations being Chester, Pennsylvania and Fullerton, California.
TransUnion® was founded in 1968 and has been an independent company since 2005. As a credit bureau, or credit reporting agency, TransUnion® gathers information reported from different sources on individual consumers. Information that TransUnion® and other credit bureaus gather primarily includes payment history, credit history, and borrowing history and habits. Consumer lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and credit card companies use this information to help compare credit worthiness and credit risk and determine availability of consumer loans to individual applicants.
In the United States, credit reporting agencies like TransUnion® and their policies are governed by the federal government. The Fair Credit Reporting Act sets legal terms for credit reporting agencies and the oversight is the responsibility of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to review their credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies, including TransUnion®, once per calendar year.
Obtaining a free report can be done online or by phone or mail, but only the information regarding past and current lenders and payment history is supplied. Your actual credit score as reported by each agency is not included in the annual free credit report. Individual credit scores can be obtained by paying a company’s fee or directly from lenders to whom an individual has applied for a loan.
In addition to consumer credit reporting, TransUnion® also provides consumer services such as identity theft protection, fraud protection, and credit monitoring. By public policy and law, TransUnion® is required to investigate any discrepancies a consumer may have with regards to the credit information they have reported. Commonly referred to as a “dispute,” a discrepancy or mistake on an individual’s credit report can cost them valuable points on their overall credit score.
Financial experts recommend that individuals monitor their credit reports and review them annually at the minimum. To obtain a free credit report from TransUnion® individuals can visit their website and click on “Free Credit Report.” Their website also provides contact information should consumers need to place a security freeze or fraud alert on their report due to identity theft or fraud.