The “Big 3” credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—aren’t the only consumer-reporting agencies keeping track of you. There are dozens of lesser-known organizations that track aspects of your consumer and financial life, then sell that information to a range of buyers. Problem: Any negative information in those reports could affect your ability to open accounts, obtain loans, land jobs and more.
Good news: These obscure agencies are subject to the same federal and state consumer-protection rules as the “Big 3” credit bureaus. They generally must provide consumers with free copies of their files upon request, up to once every 12 months…consumers can dispute any mistakes they discover in their files…and the agencies must investigate and remove erroneous information. Among the files worth requesting and reviewing…
ChexSystems monitors consumers’ checking- and savings-account activity and assigns a score based on how those accounts are used. Banking missteps such as overdrawing an account lowers that score. A low ChexSystems score might make banks unwilling to offer you its best rates. ChexSystems.com
Innovis tracks credit-related information, in much the same way Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
LexisNexis tracks homeowner and auto insurance claims, among other info. Details in these reports can affect the insurance rates you are quoted. LexisNexis tracks a range of personal history details, too, such as past mailing addresses dating back decades. Consumer.Risk.LexisNexis.com
National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) tracks telecom- and utility-bill payment history. If your NCTUE Disclosure Report says you have a history of missing payments, utility providers might demand deposits…and telecom providers might not offer attractive terms. NCTUE.com
If a business turns you down for an account or product because of information contained in a consumer-reporting agency file, that business is legally required to disclose which agency’s file it consulted. Obtain a copy of the file that led to the rejection—and dispute any inaccurate information it contains.