Ask Money

Another Credit Reporting Bureau

Chris Farrell Feb 26, 2008

Question: While I was checking my credit reports, I came across the name of a fourth credit reporting agency, Innovis. I was told they are not included in the “one free credit report a year”. My understanding is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are required by the government to report to them. Is this true? Who are they and why aren’t they required to furnish a free report like the other agencies? Should I be concerned about checking this report as well? Judi

A: You’re right–Ugh. There is another credit reporting bureau and, yes, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae require that mortgage servicers report payment histories to Innovis. The federal government does the same. If you go to the Innovis website at www.innovis.com you can learn how to order a credit report, put on a fraud or security alert, freeze your credit report, and so forth. Problem is, few people realize it even exists.

Its basic business model is different from the Big Three credit bureaus. As I understand it, its main business is helping creditors put together mailing lists–the solicitations you get in the mail. If there’s a black mark on your credit record with Innovis–whether it should be there or not–you won’t get credit offers in the mail. Personally speaking, being free of mail solicitations isn’t a bad thing. On the other hand, it’s bad if you’re denied a chance at a deal because of a mistake on a credit report that few people realize exists. And you don’t want credit mistakes to linger anywhere.

I don’t understand why Innovis isn’t part of the yearly one-free-credit-report requirement. It’s an oversight that should be corrected.

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