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Why Does Each Credit Report Vary by Credit Bureau?

When viewing your client’s credit reports you will notice some accounts differ for each credit bureau. Some accounts will have different information between credit bureaus while others may not even appear on all three reports.

The reason reports differ is because each credit agency collects data independently. Some furnishers including smaller banks and debt collection agencies do not report to all three credit bureaus.

Public record information as bankruptcies, tax liens, garnishments, etc., is sometimes gathered by each credit bureau by sending a person down to the courthouses to fish through the records. When the bureaus use different people, they sometimes report the same public record information differently, causing additional variations among credit reports.

Yet another reason the credit reports differ is that the bureaus often receive and process information from furnishers at different times.  In 2002, a study by Consumer Federation of America estimated that tens of millions of consumers are at risk of being penalized by inaccurate and inconsistent credit reports.

This is why it is always recommended you have your client send you a 3-in-1 credit report so that you can identify and correct negative items across all three bureaus.


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