The credit reporting system is not perfect. In fact, it is far from perfect. As a result, a consumer that manages credit responsibly may not be rewarded with an appropriate credit score. To understand how this can happen, consumers need to understand who reports credit data to the credit bureaus.
Approximately 30,000 data furnishers provide data to the credit bureaus each month. This results in about 4 billion points of data each month. That breaks down to approximately 130 million items each and every day. The largest providers of data are financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, and consumer finance companies.
While these numbers are staggering, there is a lot of data that is not reported. Creditors are not actually required to report data to the credit bureaus. As a result, some creditors choose not to report any data at all. Other creditors choose to only report negative information or to exclude important key data points such as credit limits. If you have positive information and your creditors do not report it the bureaus, or if they only report negative or incomplete items, your credit score will be impacted negatively. This is simply because you will not receive the benefit of this positive information when your credit score is calculated.
So why wouldn’t a creditor want to report information? Some creditors are concerned that their competitors will obtain valuable information about their customers and then use this information to compete for the customers or evaluate certain lines of business. Some creditors choose not to report to limit the potential liability imposed on data providers by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Some creditors simply want to avoid the costs associated with providing data altogether. These costs include reporting expenses, dispute investigation expenses, compliance expenses, and system maintenance expenses. Some regulated entities, such as telephone companies, are restricted by regulations as to the information they may report. Some of these companies, for example, are only permitted to report data about accounts that are past due or are in a charged-off status.
If you are trying to improve your credit score, it is important that you work with creditors that report both positive information as well as the negative information. It is also important that they report all of the information, not just selective data that may negatively impact your credit score even though your account is in good standing. Check your credit report frequently and verify that all of your creditors are reporting to the credit bureaus correctly. Remember that your credit score is based only on the information that is reported, and your credit score could be higher if you have positive information that is not reported or not reported completely.