The primary business-to-business service provided by a credit bureau is to compile consumer borrowing data and sell it to lenders that use it to assess credit-worthiness. However, bureaus also advice consumers on credit issues and work with them to resolve errors in credit reports, according to Financial Web.
Consumer credit bureaus gather information about the borrowing habits of consumers, maintain the information in profiles and distribute reports as requested by lenders. Commercial bureaus collect information and distribute similar types of reports on the credit-worthiness of businesses, according to Inc. magazine. Companies that use bureau reporting services normally pay a flat rate or a fee-per-usage for access to the information. Employers and landlords also rely on bureau reports to assess certain consumer risks.
People are entitled by law to access one free copy of their credit report each year, according to Financial Web. This access ensures people are aware of the data that is distributed to lenders about them. Errors can and do appear on credit reports. These errors can harm a person's ability to gain access to reasonable credit terms. Each of the three major U.S. reporting bureaus has dispute-filing processes that allow people to prove an error exists. Credit bureaus also offer credit advice and help with fraud security.