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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


A Three-Bureau Report: Why Do They Help?

Jul 13


When it comes to your credit, most people know there are three main credit reporting agencies. How they’re different is something that’s less clear. People know that each maintains a credit report for them, but why would there be reasons to look at information from more than one? What’s the point of looking at your credit report from all three providers?

Shouldn’t it be the same?

While that might seem like a likely outcome, it’s not common that someone’s credit information looks exactly the same to each of the three bureaus. Why is that? Because your lenders and creditors don’t have to report your information to each bureau. So you can get a more complete view of your overall credit picture when you’re looking at your report information from all three bureaus every so often.

While the three main credit bureaus follow many similar models for tracking and scoring your credit information, those scores often end up seeing some variance. If you see dramatic variances, that’s call for concern and could mean that there’s been some suspicious activity in your accounts. And it’s activity you can pinpoint thanks to the fact that you thought to look at a three-bureau report, especially if it happened to be within information reported to one of the other two bureaus’ information that you don’t normally check. Remember, too, that ProtectMyID® offers members comprehensive identity theft detection through three-bureau report monitoring.

Three-bureau reports also allow you to see the type of credit information about yourself that lenders are likely to consider. When you explore financing options, it’s likely the case that they’ll check all three of your credit reports, and so you’ll see a three-number array of values for your credit scores. Even if a potential lender checks only one of your credit scores, seeing more of your information in advance will give you a better idea of the spread of information, so your offer can be less of a surprise.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from, Inc., an Experian company. © 2016, Inc. All rights reserved.