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How to Prepare for the Holidays (While Protecting Your Credit Score)

Posted by Erica Steeves on December 11, 2017

How to Prepare for the Holidays (While Protecting Your Credit Score)     Tis the season…to be spending. Yes, with the holidays fast approaching, chances are you’ve made your list (and checked it twice). But when it comes to holiday spending, you wa read more

Posted By : Building Credit, Credit Bureaus, Credit Repair, credit score, Tools & Tips

A Brief History of Experian

Posted by Erica Steeves on November 30, 2017

A BRIEF HISTORY OF EXPERIAN

Image result for experian building Experian’s roots date back nearly 200 years, making the credit reporting bureau the longest tenured among the “big three” status that the firm shares with TransUnion and Equifax. It’s also the biggest of the three bureaus, with data on more than 235 million people worldwide, headquarters in the U.S. and Europe, and a workforce of about 17,000 employees worldwide. But Experian didn’t become this impactful overnight. Here’s a brief look at the history of Experian and how it gradually morphed into the credit reporting giant that it is today:

   Experian: A Brief History

  • 1826: Experian’s roots can be traced back to London, England, in the early 1800s, when a group known as the Manchester Guardian Society began sharing information on citizens who failed to settle their debts. This was one of the earliest accounts of modern day credit reporting on record.
  • 1897: We jump ahead and move from across the pond to Dallas, Texas, when a Dallas, Texas-based lawyer began compiling lists of local citizens based on whether or not they were at-risk consumers.
  • 1960s: We take another big jump ahead in time to the early 1960s, when two aerospace engineers with a hunch that currency would transition from cash to credit formed a credit information unit branch of TRW, Inc. TRW’s credit information branch would eventually go on to become Experian in the 1990s.
  • 1970s: TRW follows up its credit information branch with the launch of a small business database branch.
  • 1980s: The credit information and small business database branches of TRW continue to see major growth, and by the mid-80s have accrued data on more than 90 million Americans.
  • 1986: TRW began selling consumers their credit reports for an annual fee of $30 in this year. This eventually came to an end, however, as the Fair Credit Reporting Act granted consumers one free report each year.
  • 1991: This year marked one of TRW’s biggest mistakes as a credit reporting agency. The mishap involved a TRW investigator concluding that about 1,500 Vermont residents had not paid their property taxes, causing their credit scores to take a big hit. Following this, similar mistakes came to light. These blunders put TRW in a negative light, forcing the company to make major changes to its operators and customer service practices.
  • 1996: Experian is officially launched. Brian Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners acquired TRW as Experian. Shortly after, the two firms sold Experian to England-based Great Universal Stores Limited (GUS).
  • 2006: Experian de-merges from GUS and, for the first time, is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
  • 2017: In March 2017, Experian agreed to pay a $3 million fine for dispersing incorrect credit information to various consumers. The fine was imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Present day: With headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, Nottingham, United Kingdom, and Costa Mesa, California, Experian reports operating revenue of about $4.5 billion (U.S.) annually. It operates in 37 countries and keeps data on some 235 million U.S. consumers and 25 million U.S. businesses.

Posted By : Credit Bureaus, Finance News

A Brief History of Equifax

Posted by Erica Steeves on November 21, 2017

Image result for equifax building Along with TransUnion and Experian, Equifax helps make up the “big three” of the credit reporting bureaus. And though Equifax’s story isn’t quite as tenured as Experian, its roots date back to the late 1800s when it began as a grocery store. Here’s a look at how the Atlanta-based company grew into the credit reporting giant that it is today.

A History of Equifax

  • 1898: Equifax’s roots begin in this year as a Tennessee-based grocery story. Founded by brothers Cator and Guy Woolford, each got their start in the credit business as grocers, where they compiled lists of customers based on their creditworthiness.
  • 1899: The Woolfords moved to Atlanta with the goal of making credit reporting their new career. In Atlanta, Georgia, in 1899, the Retail Credit Company was born. Compiling credit information into a book, the Woolfords sold copies to merchants. The company posted a loss of more than $2,000 in its first year, but sold many more books the following year.
  • 1901: Retail Credit Company expands into the moral hazard market, selling credit information to life insurance companies.
  • 1913: Retail Credit Company incorporated in 1913 and continued to grow its insurance-related business. During this period, it began reporting for automotive liability insurance.
  • 1920: Retail Credit Company continues to grow. By 1920, it has 37 branches throughout North America.
  • 1923: The company forms Credit Service Exchange, a credit rating operations firm. This entity was later sold.
  • 1930: The Retail Credit Company has 81 branch offices throughout North America.
  • 1960s: Post World War II is a period of rapid growth for the company, and by the mid-1960s, Retail Credit Company has 300 branch offices and 1,400 sub offices. This was also a period where data was transitioned from written index cards to electronic data systems.
  • 1970s: Retail Credit Company buys credit bureaus in Oregon, Idaho, Washington D.C. and California. In 1971, Retail’s credit reporting also began to be governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which took effect in April of 1971. In the early days of the Act, Equifax was a frequent violator.
  • 1979: Retail Credit Company changes its name to Equifax. It’s believed that this change was part of a means to improve its image after being found in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act after it was signed into law in 1971.
  • 1986: The company amasses data on more than 150 million consumers in 28 states.
  • 1988: The company now covers all 50 states, with revenue of $743 million.
  • 1989: Equifax forms an alliance with CSC Credit Services.
  • 1990s: Equifax expands internationally with acquisitions in the U.K., France, Canada and Chile, among others.
  • 2017: Equifax is the victim of a massive cyber hack, which is believed to have exposed the personal, confidential information of about 145 million Americans. Equifax was widely criticized for the hack and for how it responded after the matter.  (to see if you were a victim of this hack, please click here.)
Today, Equifax has a workforce of about 14,000 employees throughout 19 countries, and reports revenue of $3.14 billion per year.

Posted By : Uncategorized

A Brief History of Transunion

Posted by Erica Steeves on November 14, 2017

A Brief History of TransUnion

Image result for transunion building You likely already know TransUnion as one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies. And though it’s actually the smallest of the big three behind Experian and Equifax, the Chicago, Illinois-based company has a rich 49-year history. What’s more is that unlike Equifax, it doesn’t have the baggage hanging over its head in the wake of the massive hack from summer 2017. TransUnion profiles just about every credit-active consumer in the United States, so it’s safe to assume that it knows a lot about you. But how much do you know about it? Here’s a brief history of TransUnion so that you can get better acquainted with the firm that already knows your consumer behavior so well:

A Brief History of TransUnion

  • 1968: This was the official year that TransUnion was born. Specifically, it was born as the parent holding company to the Union Tank Car Company, which practiced in the rail car industry.
  • 1969: A year after TransUnion was born, it acquired the Credit Bureau of Cook County (CBCC). The CBCC had maintained more than 3.5 million card files, making TransUnion the first in the credit reporting field to streamline consumer file updates. But its days as a credit reporting bureau were just getting started.
  • 1981: TransUnion is sold to The Marmon Group for $688 million.
  • The 90s: In addition to growing staff and expanding its facilities, TransUnion branched out to offer business-to-business services. This offering was in addition to its existing ability to maintain and update credit information on every market-active consumer in America.
  • 2002: TransUnion acquires www.TrueCredit.com, marking its entry into the direct-to-consumer market. TrueCredit.com helps consumers better understand their credit scores and outlines strategies to help improve them.
  • 2010: Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Advent International acquire TransUnion.
  • 2013: In October 2013, TransUnion launched CreditVision, an evolution of the traditional credit score that is designed to better identify consumer trends, consumer behavior, and debt and repayment data.
  • 2014: TransUnion implements ResidentCredit, a consumer-friendly tactic that reported on rental payment data as a means of boosting credit scores. In 2014, the company also acquired TLO, which collects data on people and companies from about one hundred thousand sources of data, for $154 million.
  • 2015: In January 2015, TransUnion revamped its brand and mantra with the goal of conveying its desire to empower consumers to make smarter decisions and live better lives.
  • 2015: In June 2015, TransUnion becomes a publicly-traded company for the first time in its history. It trades under the “TRU” ticker symbol.
  • Today: Presently, TransUnion is a worldwide company with about 4,700 total employees. In 2016, it posted total revenue of about $1.7 billion. Today, TransUnion compiles and aggregates data and information on more than 1 billion consumers across more than 30 countries.
As you can see, TransUnion didn’t turn into the credit reporting giant that it is today overnight. It took nearly 50 years of strategic acquisitions, innovative product launches and diversifying. Minimally, every consumer should know that they can receive one free credit report per year from TransUnion.

Posted By : Credit Scoring Model, Finance News, History

A Brief Timeline of Financial Crisis

Posted by Erica Steeves on October 30, 2017

A Brief Timeline of Financial Crisis

If you’re not learning from the past, chances are you’re doomed to repeat it. That’s why it’s so important that we all learn from the financial crisis and the mishaps of the past, from the recent “Great Recession” of 2008 all the way back to the 1772 credit crisis. Here’s a closer look at some of the great financial crises and what we need to take out of all of them:

A Timeline of Financial Crisis

Financial Crisis History
16 Nov 1930, Chicago, Illinois, USA — Notorious gangster Al Capone attempts to help unemployed men with his soup kitchen “Big Al’s Kitchen for the Needy.” The kitchen provides three meals a day consisting of soup with meat, bread, coffee, and doughnuts, feeding about 3500 people daily at a cost of $300 per day. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
  • Crisis of 1772: Originating in London and then spreading throughout Europe, the crisis stunted economic growth and led to the failure of 20 banks.
  • The Great Depression: Fueled by a drop in stock prices in September 1929 and a full-blown stock market crash less than two months later, the Great Depression had a major impact on the entire world. Worldwide GDP fell by 15 percent, trade plummeted and unemployment skyrocketed. Many economies didn’t recover until World War II began.
  • 1973 Oil Crisis: Due to perceived support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War, OPEC embargoed oil to a variety of Western nations, including the U.S. This embargo caused oil prices to skyrocket from $3 a barrel to $12 worldwide. A second crisis occurred in 1979.
  • 1997 Asian Financial Crisis: With Thailand bankrupt, crisis spread throughout much of Asia in 1997, often raising concern that it could spread worldwide. The crisis was plagued by low currency, devalued stock markets and an increase in private debt. Debt-to-GDP ratios also climbed.
  • The Great Recession: Though this recession lasted less than two years, the effects were devastating. A financial crisis and subprime mortgage crisis was the perfect double whammy for this recession, so much so that the financial sector was in great peril (that is, before the banks were bailed out). The housing market tanked and manufacturing slowed to a trickle, forcing a variety of bankruptcies and closures.
So what can we learn from the various crises of the past? Lots. For instance, don’t invest all of your money in one entity – diversify it. Secondly, it’s always a good idea to take the appropriate measures to ensure that you’re debt free. Not only does this keep your credit score and borrowing power high, but things are less likely to snowball on you in times of uncertainty. And finally, live frugally. Don’t borrow any more than what you need – and only do it when you need it.  

Posted By : History

Five Practical Methods To Build Credit

Posted by Nikitas Tsoukalis on September 20, 2017

Five Practical Methods To Build Credit It can be really difficult to build credit. Whether you are just starting out or had some bad experiences with credit cards that left you with less than stellar credit, you are probably running into the same issue – to be abl read more

Posted By : credit score

How to Freeze Your Credit After the Equifax Breach

Posted by Nikitas Tsoukalis on September 20, 2017

How to Freeze Your Credit After the Equifax Breach About half of all Americans are at risk for long-term identity theft in the aftermath of the recent Equifax data breach. In fact, the company has said that 143 million consumers are potentially at risk, as hackers swipe read more

Posted By : credit score

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