The Fair Credit Reporting Act is designed to ensure that the information in your credit report is collected and reported with accuracy, fairness and privacy. Although the Act specifies how lenders can report your information, it doesn't require them to report the information at all. If your installment loan isn't showing up on one of your credit reports, there's no need to panic. It's not uncommon for different information to appear on each credit report.
Given the fact that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are each unique credit report companies featuring their own policies, it is quite possible that an installment loan could show up on only one report you receive.
Credit Reporting Bureaus
Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are separate, competing companies. Credit bureaus don't share information with each other. Each credit bureau requires the lender to set up an account to report their customer's account information. Since each credit bureau charges a fee, not all banks are willing to spend the money reporting to three bureaus. If the information is not appearing on any of your credit reports, contact the lender to ensure your name and Social Security number on file are correct, and then contact the particular credit bureau to notify it of the missing information.
Credit Scoring Models
Credit scoring models use the information reported in your credit report to calculate your credit score. If an account isn't reported, it can't be factored into your credit score. The most common credit scoring system is the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, model. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion use the FICO scoring model, in which payment history is the most significant credit score factor. Your account balances, including all your loans and lines of credit, also play a role.
Credit Reporting Basics
The lender isn't required to report your loan to all three credit bureaus. Most major banks report to the three bureaus, but smaller banks usually only report to one or two bureaus. Even when a lender does report your installment loan details to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the information will not necessarily be the same. Lenders report account information to the credit bureaus at different times of the month, which can affect how the loan appears on your report. However, you may dispute items on your credit report, including the way your debts are reported by the lenders. If information is missing, you can contact the bureau.
Pulling Credit Reports
When you apply for credit, the lender won't always pull a credit report from each bureau. Your three scores are generally different. The degree of variation in your credit scores will range depending on which accounts are reported. For a major credit application, such as a mortgage, the lender will usually take the middle credit score.
- Bankrate.com: Do Lenders Have to Report to Credit Bureaus?
- Federal Trade Commission: A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- My FICO: Why Are My Credit Scores Different for the Three Credit Bureaus?
- Equifax: Different Credit Scores
- Finder.com: Installment Loans and Your Credit Report
- Federal Trade Commission: Your Equal Credit Opportunity Rights
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.