Credit Bureaus

A credit bureau is an organization that collects data from various sources and provides information on individuals' borrowing and bill paying habits. Credit bureaus help lenders assess credit-worthiness and the ability to pay back a loan, which can affect an individual's interest rate and other terms of a loan.

Most U.S. consumer credit information is collected and kept by the three national credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

What does credit mean?

Having a good credit history is critical to easily obtaining life goals like: a home mortgage or lease on an apartment, an auto loan, low-interest credit cards, and more.

Having a poor credit history or low credit score can seriously affect you financially. A low credit score indicates to lenders that you are a high-risk borrower and they may not be willing to lend you money. Even if you are granted a loan, it may be more expensive for you to get credit. You may have to pay more due to increased fees or a higher interest rate, which will increase your monthly payment.

Either way, you have a right to know what is on your credit report and what to expect when a lender runs a credit check on you.

Get a copy of your credit report

Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act), you can now obtain one-free credit report from each main credit reporting agency (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once-per-year. Simply visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1.877.322.8228 for more details.

Mpowered: Bellco has partnered with Mpowered, a local nonprofit, to offer affordable credit coaching for Bellco members. Get your report and score from all three bureaus along with expert analysis and coaching. Mpowered also offers a free online credit education tutorial, and various resource guides, blogs and videos on important credit topics.

Or, visit our partner Identity Fraud, Inc., for additional credit and identity theft-related products and services, including identity insurance, credit monitoring tools, VRS Elite victim assistance, and more. Call IFI at 1-866-4ID-FRAUD (1-866-443-3728).