How the Three Major Credit Bureaus Compare

Ever wonder where your credit report comes from? The answer is simple: the credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion represent the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies in the U.S.

All three bureaus collect information about your financial accounts and use them to generate your credit report. The information in your report is then used to calculate your credit score, the three-digit number lenders use to make credit decisions.

But, your credit score with one bureau may not be the same as the other two. That’s because the three credit bureaus don’t always use the same information to create your credit report.

 

How credit reporting works

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion all rely on your creditors to report information about your financial accounts. That includes things like:

  • Your payment history
  • Account balances
  • Credit limits
  • Inquiries for new credit
  • Types of credit you’re using
  • Age of your credit accounts

These factors are what’s used to tally up your credit score. The credit bureaus also collect non-financial information, including your name, Social Security number, birth date, address history and employment history.

 

Why your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports may differ

While all three credit bureaus can track the same information, they’re not responsible for actually reporting it–your creditors are. For example, if you have a major credit card like the Platinum Card® from American Express, that account would likely show up on all three reports. But, if you have a personal loan with your local bank, they may only report it to one of the bureaus. Some credit accounts are never reported at all. There’s no requirement that creditors do so; the process is completely voluntary.

The credit bureaus can also differ with regard to things like how your employment data is reported. Equifax and Experian may just list your employer’s name while TransUnion may list your employer’s name, your position and your dates of employment. Keep in mind, however, that your employment history has no impact whatsoever on your credit score.

Differences in what’s included in your credit report concerning your credit accounts can directly impact your credit score. Your Experian credit score could be higher than your TransUnion or Equifax scores, for instance, if you have a positive payment history with a creditor that’s reporting only to that bureau.

 

Checking your credit reports

If you’ve never checked your credit before, it’s a good idea to consider reviewing your report from all three credit bureaus. That way, you can see where they overlap and where they differ in terms of what’s being reported and how that may impact your credit score. You can get one free copy of each bureau’s credit report per year through AnnualCreditReport.com.

As you check your report, also be on the lookout for any errors. If you successfully dispute an error, the credit bureau that reports it is required to remove or correct this information. And finally, remember to scan your report for accounts you don’t recognize, which could be a sign of identity theft.

How to Save Money and Get Fit at Work

get fit at workMost of us now have sit down jobs. We don’t get much exercise by doing our jobs an certainly do not get fit at work. After all, how many calories can you really spend typing at the computer?

Many of us do not have the money or the time to spend at the gym after work or on the weekends to even out our passive week days with some active pursuits.

So, what can one do to get fit at work? Here are a few suggestions that worked for me.

Start early.

Begin a new habit of scraping out a half hour in the morning, either by rising earlier, having the kids become more self-sufficient before school, or skipping that last cup of coffee. Find a routine or two (a disc, a program or simply a set of exercises) you can do at home without a lot of prep or follow up time. For years I exercised for 30 or 45 minutes before showering and dressing for work. I’d get the kids started on their morning routine, then disappear into the bedroom to follow a dvd exercise routine, then pop back out to get them on their way before hitting the shower and taking off for work.

Use lunch to Get Fit at Work.

Instead of gorging at the local deli on your lunch break, get out and move. Walk, jog, start a group session in an unused meeting room to do yoga, stretching or non-odor producing movements off any kind. You can even do sit down exercises, like under the table leg lifts.

Look for opportunities in the community as well. I used to work right next door to the outdoor ice skating rink. There was a lunch skate for a dollar plus skate rental. I learned to skate, burned calories and had fun without getting too sweaty (it was winter).

Join the company team.

Many companies compete in Corporate Challenge games. In my area, the events take place in the spring but the team’s are selected in the winter. Your HR department may be able to put you in contact with the company participants that like to Most of us now have sit down jobs. We don’t get much exercise by doing our jobs an certainly do not get fit at work. Usually events include things like walking; horseshoes; tennis; basketball; baseball; fishing; bowling; darts; pool; track and field; trap shooting, tug of war and etc – and others as well. Swimming and track events (and possibly others) compete in age groups – so you may have more or less competition to get on a team based on how old you are. Sign up, try out, practice with the team. All that practice (and fear of embarrassment) will keep you moving. When I was around mid fifties, I started jogging on the treadmill at a YMCA close to work. The team coordinator for track noticed me (and my age) and asked me to join the team since there weren’t many my age running. I ran the quarter, half, mile and 5 k. I did a lot of practicing the years I ran the corporate challenge!

Get your company involved in volunteer activities.

Start a community garden (lots of activity there for many folks), start a Habitat for Humanity project with team mates, participate in company client events (such as golf tournaments), relationship building events (such as active games) or find some other active volunteer work that would benefit both you and the company.

The company from which I retired sponsored a company garden. Company volunteers planted, watered, weeded then harvested the vegetables. The local food bank used the harvest to help feed the homeless. The benefit was three-fold – good PR for the company, feel good activity for the employees and food for the homeless.

Build networks after work.

You might be surprised at what your company may be offering unannounced to help build good employee relations. My last company paid for a bowling league. I bowled free of charge with other employees once a week. That’s better than sitting at home in front of the TV. Of course, you have to try to avoid drinking the soda and beer and eating the burger and fries! Perhaps your company has a softball team or organized a volleyball team or sponsors a company charity run. If so, sign up!

Ditch the car.

Walk to the bus stop, save money, get exercise and help keep the ozone layer. If you live in a close enough distance and walk-able community, just walk all the way. Ride your bike to and from work if you have safe trails (consider taking a change of clothes in the summer time though).

What do you do to save money to get fit at work?

photo by: sanchom