There are lots of credit bureaus out there, but three companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion —have reigned supreme when it comes to furnishing lenders with data on your ability to repay a loan.
Of course, one of these bureaus must be the biggest of them all — and a comparison of each firm’s 2015 annual reports gives that distinction, by most measures, to (drum roll, please … ) Experian.
The Big 3 By the Numbers
Per its 2015 annual report, Experian manages the data of 890 million people and 103 million businesses around the world. The bureau brought in a total of $4.8 billion in revenue last year.
Equifax, meanwhile, organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 800 million consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide. Its database also includes employee data contributed from more than 5,000 employers. It took in $2.7 billion in revenue in 2015.
And TransUnion reaches over 55 million consumers and serves more than 65,000 business customers. Last year, it crossed the $1.5 billion revenue mark for the first time.
Checking Your Credit
Of course, size here is a bit relative. While Experian may technically have the most data on hand, there’s no guarantee that a particular lender will pull its version of your credit report when you apply for a loan. Plus, creditors don’t always report to each bureau.
That’s why it’s generally recommended that you check your credit reports with all three major credit reporting agencies before you start your search for financing. There could be a line item or even an error on just one report that is weighing down your score. You can pull your credit reports for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also keep track of your credit by viewing your free credit report summary, updated monthly, on Credit.com.
If you do spot an error on one of your credit reports, you should dispute it with the credit bureau in question. And, if your score is in rough shape, you can typically fix your credit by identifying your credit score killers and coming up with a game plan to address them. You can also improve your score and build good credit in the long-term by paying down high credit card balances, making all loan payments on time and adding a mix of accounts organically over time.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report