Many consumers are familiar with the big three national consumer reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
However, fewer consumers know about the myriad of other, specialty consumer reporting agencies that gather information on consumers to provide to particular businesses with a lawful need for information.
As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes in a Jan. 23 article (“What are specialty consumer reporting agencies and what kind of information do they collect?”), these agencies may create reports on your history of car insurance claims, homeowners and renters insurance claims, payday lending, utility payments, phone bill payments, employment, among other things.
Like the big three, many specialty agencies provide free copies of credit reports annually on request.
However, the CFPB recognized that it is difficult for consumers to know about these agencies or where to contact them. Therefore, the CFPB developed an online list that includes toll-free telephone numbers and websites for many specialty agencies.
While not all-inclusive, the list provides much data and indicates if a particular agency provides a free annual report.
The CFPB reminds consumers that not every consumer reporting company will have information on every consumer. However, it offers list tips on the types of data collected by a specialty agency.
To review the CFPB’s list, go to www.consumerfinance.gov (search for: “List of Consumer Reporting Agencies”).