Let’s talk about where the information on your credit reports comes from. Although the information may come from many places, it generally comes from three sources – you, public records, and your creditors. Let’s look at each of these sources and the information that they provide.
Yes, you! You unknowingly supply a great deal of information to the credit bureaus. How? Generally this happens when you apply for credit.
When you apply for credit, you typically complete a credit application in which you supply your full name, Social Security Number, current and former addresses, and current and previous employers. And guess what your potential creditor does with the information you listed in the application? That’s right. They send it all to the credit bureaus. This information then becomes a part of your credit file. Therefore, it’s important that you accurately complete this information on any credit application that you complete.
Public records are any record made available publicly by a judicial court. These records may include bankruptcies, repossessions, child support judgments, and tax liens, to name a few.
Your current and former creditors also provide information to the credit bureaus about you. These creditors tell the credit bureaus how you’ve paid your bills each month. However, not all of your creditors report all of your payment history to the credit bureaus.
Some creditors, sometimes called “automatic subscribers”, report all of your payment history to the credit bureaus every month. Other creditors, sometimes called “limited subscribers”, only report certain types of information like delinquencies or late payments. Let’s look at these different types of creditors.
Automatic Subscribers are creditors that regularly report information to the credit bureaus about your account with them. This information generally includes the date when this creditor opened the account, the total amount of the debt or credit limit, the current balance, and your payment history – good or bad. There are many different types of automatic subscribers, including banks, credit unions, department stores, finance companies, and major credit card companies. Even though a creditor is an automatic subscriber to one credit bureau, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the creditor will report to all of the major credit bureaus. That’s one reason that the credit reports produced by different credit bureaus very often contain different information.
Limited Subscribers are creditors that do NOT regularly report information to the credit bureaus. Instead, these creditors may only report certain types of information – like delinquencies or collection activities. They generally do not report good credit information, and they usually do report bad information. There are many different types of limited subscribers, including apartment management companies, insurance companies, utility companies, medical providers, and collection agencies. As with automatic subscribers, many limited subscribers may only report information to one of the national credit bureaus. Therefore, bad information reported by a limited subscriber may only affect one of your credit reports.
Creditors That Do Not Reports to Any Credit Bureau
Finally, there are some creditors that do not report to the credit bureaus AT ALL. This means that any information – good or bad – will not show in any of your credit reports. Typically, these creditors include individuals like landlords or small companies.