Credit reporting agencies also known as credit bureaus collect and report information consistent to your credit and financial history that has been submitted by lenders. They also pull information from public records such as bankruptcies and report it. The three major credit reporting agencies are Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Lenders and employers rely on these agencies to rate your reliability. 

According to Transunion, Credit reporting has existed for over a century, and communities had a local credit agency. As the credit reporting became automated, the local credit agencies were consolidated into the three major regional companies. TransUnion serviced the Central U.S., Experian the West, and Equifax managed the South and East. Today, each of the credit agencies has a national presence and are publicly traded for-profit companies.

Each bureau offers slightly different services and because all lenders don’t report to all three your credit report can vary from bureau to bureau.