Understanding the words used in the credit industry is the first step in understanding how your credit works. Here is a list of the most common industry terms. You may want to print these out and keep them for your records.
CDIA – Consumer Data Industry Association. The CDIA is an international trade association that represents consumer data companies including the nationwide consumer reporting agencies.
Consumer Report – Reports provided by consumer reporting agencies to lenders and other users. The FCRA defines a consumer report as “any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for (A) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; (B) employment purposes; or (C) any other purpose authorized under section 604 [of the FCRA].” The FCRA provides a limited number of exclusions to this definition.
Consumer Reporting Agency – The FCRA defines a consumer reporting agency (CRA) as “any person, which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility of interstate commerce for the purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer reports.”
Credit File/Consumer File – The information about a consumer that is contained in the databases of credit reporting agencies. According to the FCRA, the term “file,” when used in connection with information on any consumer, means all of the information on that consumer recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how that information is stored.
Consumer File Disclosure – Information provided to a consumer when that consumer requests a copy of the information in his or her file at the NCRA.
Credit Report – Popular term for consumer reports used or purchased by lenders.
Credit Reporting Agency/Credit Bureau – Popular term for consumer reporting agencies in the business of providing consumer reports to lenders.
ECOA – Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
e-OSCAR – The Online Solution for Complete and Accurate Reporting. Web-based computer software system used by Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, and Innovis to communicate with furnishers about consumer disputes.
FCRA – Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Furnisher – Generally refers to an entity that provides information relating to its own transactions or experiences with consumers to one or more consumer reporting agencies for inclusion in consumer reports.
40 CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU, DECEMBER 2012
Inquiry – A request for a consumer report.
Metro 2® – The industry standard format for furnisher data contributions created in 1997 by the CDIA on behalf of Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, and Innovis.
NCRA – Nationwide consumer reporting agency. For the purpose of this paper, an NCRA means Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Public Record – Generally, a record that a governmental body is required to maintain, and which must be accessible to scrutiny by the public. Definitions of public records can vary by federal, state, or local jurisdiction.
Reinvestigation – An investigation by a consumer reporting agency or a furnisher into the accuracy or completeness of information in a consumer’s credit file in response to a consumer dispute of such information.
Trade Line – Information furnished by a creditor to a consumer reporting agency that reflects the consumer’s account status and activity. Trade line information includes the name of companies where the applicant has accounts, dates accounts were opened, credit limits, types of accounts, balances owed and payment histories.
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