If you have any loans or credit cards, then your debt-handling habits are tracked, collected and put into reports by the three major credit bureaus. Those reports are then used for credit scores, which help lenders determine whether to approve you for loans and give you favorable interest rates.
Three main credit bureaus operate as independent, for-profit companies and have your credit reports. TransUnion, based in Chicago, Illinois, is the third largest credit bureau in the United States.
Like its major competitors Equifax and Experian, TransUnion markets credit reports and credit-related products directly to American consumers and lenders.
If you want to keep tabs on what’s being reported about you, there are various ways to track your credit for free.
One free credit report is available from each of the credit bureaus each year by going to AnnualCreditReport.com and requesting your report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you don’t want to enter your information online, you can also call 1-877-322-8228.
Your credit reports can be viewed online, or a copy can be mailed to you. You can stagger your requests so that you have access to a free credit report every four months to keep tabs on your credit profile. If you check your own credit reports, it won’t lower your scores.
Since your credit score with TransUnion and other credit bureaus can affect your loan approvals and interest rates for car loans, mortgages and even student loans, it’s important to check it for errors, false accounts and signs of identity theft. Credit.com provides a free snapshot of your credit report.
How Does TransUnion Determine My Credit Score?
The credit bureaus each have their own formula for arriving at a credit score for you, and you have a unique score from each one. Your TransUnion credit score ranges from 300 to 850, with the highest number being your goal for the best credit available. Good credit scores are generally 700 and above.
Your TransUnion credit scores are calculated by a number of factors: your payment history makes up 35% of your score, the amount you owe lenders comprises another 30%, the length of your credit history and when you started borrowing money accounts for 15% and new credit reports account for 10% of your score.
Ideally, you should keep your credit card debts low (ideally 10% of the credit you have available on the card) and pay your debts on time. Don’t close your old credit card account because, if you’ve been responsible, they will reflect positively on your score. Closing some credit card accounts may also negatively affect your credit utilization percentage.
TransUnion makes payment history the most important aspect of your credit score because it shows how you’ve managed your finances, including any late payments, according to the company website. Your credit history is considered because it demonstrates how long you’ve been managing your accounts, when your last payments were made and any recent charges, according to the website.
Little Known Fact: TransUnion is widely credited with designing the first automated tape-to-disc transfer system, a system that eventually replaced manual data-entry. The firm also built the first online information storage and retrieval data-processing system – the Credit Reporting Online Network Utility System (CRONUS®) – for creditors across the U.S.
- Founded: 1968
- Headquarters: Chicago, IL
- CEO: James M. Peck
- Company Website: http://www.transunion.com
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/TransUnion
Products Offered by TransUnion
Aside from credit reports and credit scores, TransUnion offers other beneficial products and services for consumers to take advantage of in order to help them make better decisions with much more certainty than ever before.
TransUnion has come up with a service that makes it easy for both renters and landlords. A landlord will typically run a background check on potential renters that includes their credit reports, criminal background, income estimate, and eviction records. TransUnion SmartMove makes this a simple and straightforward process and provides superior accuracy with broad national coverage.
TransUnion requires no setup fees, and there are no minimum purchase amounts. The landlord will simply send an email screening request to the applicant, and the applicant then authorizes the screening by providing some of their personal information, and then TransUnion SmartMove will provide the landlord with the information they need for a well-informed leasing recommendation.
If you are the potential renter, SmartMove through TransUnion will have no negative impact on your credit score, provides you with a fast and secure screening process, and protects all of your information including your social security number.
Fraud Detection and Prevention
Identity theft and fraud are becoming more and more common and can be a costly occurrence. TransUnion has found ways to help combat the risk of fraud and identity theft by coming up with a fraud model that allows for much earlier and accurate detection.
TransUnion will notify the consumer immediately if there are any noted inconsistent behaviors or potentially fraudulent transactions. The Fraud Prevention Exchange is a forum where lenders can report and share pertinent information as well to help further monitor and protect consumers and their credit files.
Identity Verification and Authentication
To take even more steps in helping to prevent fraud, TransUnion has come up with identity verification components to help fight identity fraud and helps assess the risks of interactions done online or through a mobile device.
Therefore, in addition to your password, you may also need to verify your email address or other information to proceed.
TransUnion is consistently looking for new ways to provide a greater peace of mind for consumers when it comes to protecting their credit files and maintaining their good credit history and standing.
They also offer a subscription credit monitoring service for a nominal fee per month, and with this, you will also receive your TransUnion score and report. This can be helpful if you have already obtained your free annual report and wish to recheck it before the twelve months are up.