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The Credit Bureaus are not government agencies

A common misunderstanding is thinking the credit bureaus are part of the U.S. Government. The Fact is that Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion were set up as private enterprises. They were not set up by the government, they are not owned by the government, and they are not run by the government. There are laws they must abide; but then that is also true for other types of businesses as well.


The way the bureaus gather personal information about you and other consumers is to have companies report it to them. And get this: they charge companies to report information to them-which means they make money by information coming in, and they make money by information coming in, and they make money by information going out. Nobody is required to oblige their request for information. This means that credit card companies, department stores automobile finance companies, and even mortgage companies do not have to report your payment information to the credit bureaus if they don't choose to.


Furthermore, bankruptcy courts do not provide information to the credit bureaus; all information the bureaus obtains about someones bankruptcy is though third parties. More about that later in the chapter, "Handling a bankruptcy."


If a mortgage company wants to report your house paying habits to a credit bureau, it can-but it certainly doesn't have to. Your loan file belongs to the mortgage company. They keep track of who pays on the 1st of the month, on the 5th of the month, and who goes late after 30 days. It is their own private information about their own private customer. If they choose to report it, they can; but they can also choose to ignore the bureaus, which is what some of them do.


Additionally, electric companies, cable television, as well as doctors and dentists don't choose to report to the credit bureaus, unless you account goes into collections. So even if you pay these bills on time every month, year after year, you wont get on single positive point on your credit score for it.


Some apartment rent management companies are now starting to report to the credit bureaus. For those who pay their rent on time, this is good news.


Another twist is that some companies report payment history to one credit bureau but not to all, in order to save on reporting costs.


Another twist is that some companies report payment history to one credit bureau but not to all, in order to save on reporting costs. This is why a persons credit scores can vary widely from one bureau to the next. Not all of the credit bureaus will have all of your credit information. In reality, none of the credit bureaus have all of your information; They have only the information that has been voluntarily reported to them by the companies that have chosen to do so.

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