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TransUnion Credit Report: What You Need to Know & How It Works

Read Time: 9 min

graphic of a TransUnion credit score being checked with a magnifying glass

Your TransUnion credit report dictates a lot in terms of your financial goals. In fact, while TransUnion does not currently assess businesses, your personal TransUnion credit score can even impact your organization’s operations. This is especially true if you haven’t established your business’s credit score.

In the United States, there are three major credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and, you guessed it, TransUnion—which means that there are three separate credit reports to consider while trying to build credit. Keeping tabs on various credit reports may seem overwhelming, but it’s necessary if you want to improve your credit score, unlocking the world of benefits available only to those with high credit scores.

In this guide, we explore TransUnion, how its credit scoring system works, the benefits of credit monitoring, and a host of other related topics. Let’s get started!

What Is TransUnion?

As one of the major credit reporting bureaus in the United States, TransUnion collates data to generate consumer credit reports, with which lenders can assess the creditworthiness of consumers. Currently, TransUnion collects over three billion credit updates per month from data providers.[1]TransUnion. “Global Presence“. Accessed August 31, 2022.

When lenders, landlords, or other similar parties must assess a potential client, they contact TransUnion (or one of the other credit reporting bureaus) to obtain a credit file. Your credit file provides information on your debt level, missed payments, and other elements determining your perceived dependability as a consumer.

In addition to tracking financial data and supplying credit reports, TransUnion markets a range of consumer products such as identity protection, credit alerts, and portfolio management. (We explore TransUnion’s most popular products and services further below.)

graphic i icon for information on how to contact transunion

What is a TransUnion credit score?

A TransUnion credit score numerically indicates how creditworthy a consumer is. The higher the score, the more creditworthy. The credit score range is from 300 to 850, with 300 considered very poor and 850 excellent.

graphic i icon for information about how to dispute transunion

What is a TransUnion credit report?

While credit scores provide a quick assessment of how dependable you are, credit reports contain more in-depth details about your specific credit situation. TransUnion credit reports include information regarding recent inquiries, outstanding loans, missed payments, credit card balances, and other relevant factors.

How Do TransUnion Credit Scores Work?

The exact algorithm used to generate TransUnion credit scores isn’t publicly known. However, TransUnion credit scores utilize a range of data points from credit reports to determine each consumer score. Court judgments, mortgages, and credit account age are just a few of the additional factors influencing TransUnion credit scores.

What Is a Good TransUnion Credit Score?

According to TransUnion, a “good” credit score is a score of 720 or higher. To give you a better idea of what your particular score communicates to interested parties, here’s a breakdown of TransUnion’s credit score range:

  • Excellent (A): 781-850
  • Good (B): 720-780
  • Fair (C): 658-719
  • Poor (D): 601-657
  • Very Poor (F): 300-600

Accuracy of a TransUnion Credit Score

If you’re unhappy with your score, you might be wondering how accurate TransUnion credit scores are. TransUnion employs its own algorithm to calculate your score in order to most accurately reflect what they believe your credibility to be. While you may believe yourself to be a better borrower than your score indicates, TransUnion has proven expertise in determining your risk levels.

However, mistakes can happen! Be sure to challenge any illegitimate credit events you come across on your report.

Benefits of TransUnion Credit Monitoring

If you’re interested in TransUnion’s credit monitoring program, it’s important you understand its benefits. Let’s check out the distinct advantages of using TransUnion’s credit monitoring program:

  • Track Credit Improvements: If you want to build or repair your credit, monitoring your credit score with TransUnion can streamline this process.
  • Avoid Fraud: Checking your credit routinely can help mitigate the pitfalls of fraud. If someone tries to open an account with your name or Social Security number, it appears on your credit report.
  • Fix Mistakes: Both credit reporting bureaus and lenders can make mistakes. Monitoring your credit routinely can help you spot mistakes, after which you can file disputes.
  • Understand How Credit Works: If you want a better understanding of how credit works, monitoring your score can help. You’ll see how on-time payments, the percentage of your revolving credit utilization, and other factors impact your credit score over time.
  • Remain Prepared for Applications: By keeping track of your credit, you will always be prepared to apply for a loan, credit card, or other forms of financing.

Pros & Cons of TransUnion Credit Scores

As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a TransUnion credit score:

Pros

  • Free Report Every Year: Per United States law, TransUnion must provide all US residents with a free credit report each year.
  • Range of Credit Monitoring Products: TransUnion offers a wide range of credit monitoring products, enabling you to track and better understand your credit history.
  • ID Theft Prevention Tools: TransUnion offers tools and insurance to help reduce your risk of falling prey to identity fraud.

Cons

  • Complaints About Deceptive Marketing: A recent lawsuit suggests that TransUnion has engaged in deceptive marketing tactics.
  • Difficulty Removing Credit Mistakes: Many customers report encountering issues removing false credit items from their reports.
  • Expensive: In order to access all of TransUnion’s credit tracking tools, the premium credit monitoring software costs $29.95 per month.

How Much Does TransUnion Credit Monitoring Cost?

As stated above, the price of TransUnion’s premium monitoring service is $29.95 per month. This includes unlimited access to a credit monitoring hub through which you can view live updates of your score, receive email alerts, and access score simulators, just to name a few of its premium features.

If you don’t want to pay to monitor your credit, TransUnion also provides a free plan option, which we look at more closely later in this article.

TransUnion Customer Reviews & Ratings

graphic of a star and heart speech bubble for customer review about transunion

TransUnion had received mixed reviews from consumers. Though, this comes with the territory of being a credit reporting bureau, as the same is true for Experian and Equifax.

Recently, TransUnion appeared in the news due to issues related to its marketing campaigns. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently filed a lawsuit regarding deceptive marketing and other potential issues.[2]The Better Business Bureau. “Trans Union LLC“. Accessed August 31, 2022. The accusation also claims that the bureau violated financial protection laws in its outreach to consumers.

What’s the Difference Between TransUnion & Other Credit Reporting Bureaus?

While there are three major credit reporting bureaus in the United States, each utilizes similar data to develop credit reports. Although these bureaus mostly consider the same credit-related factors, there are minor differences between each.

TransUnion vs Experian

Experian offers a wide range of free and paid-for services to its customers. Its most popular services are CreditWorks Basic and CreditWorks Premium.

CreditWorks Basic is free. This service provides you with your Experian credit report and FICO score. With this plan, your score updates monthly, enabling you to easily track it via the Experian App.

CreditWorks Premium costs $24.99 per month, but it comes with a range of credit tracking tools. You can set up email alerts, track your credit scores generated by all three credit reporting bureaus, and access $1 million worth of ID theft coverage.

TransUnion vs Equifax

Equifax provides products similar to those offered by TransUnion at a more affordable price point. For $19.95 per month, Equifax customers can access Equifax Complete Premier, which includes credit file monitoring, the ability to freeze and unfreeze credit, automated email alerts, and $1 million in ID theft coverage, among other useful features.

If that still sounds like a lot, there is a cheaper product called Equifax Complete for just $9.95 per month. It offers credit monitoring, $500,000 in ID theft coverage, and other related features.

TransUnion Products & Free Services

While TransUnion provides credit reports to individuals, lenders, and other parties, it also provides a range of other services. These services include identity protection, credit alerts, and other useful tools. Let’s explore the three major TransUnion consumer services below:

graphic icon of a person's head and lock representing transunion trueidentity for fraud protection

TransUnion True Identity

TrueIdentity allows you to set up credit monitoring alerts that prevent identity fraud. Additionally, it comes with $25,000 in ID theft insurance. Best of all, this service is entirely free! You just need to sign up for it on the TransUnion website.

graphic icon of a lock in a cloud connecting a server and laptop representing transunion credit lock software

TransUnion Credit Lock

You can lock your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports using TransUnion Credit Lock. If your report is locked, all credit applications are denied until you unlock it. Costing $29.95 per month, this service can help you avoid fraudulent accounts from being opened in your name.

graphic icon of a megaphone representing transunion instant alerts

TransUnion Instant Alerts

TransUnion Instant Alerts are an excellent tool for consumers who want extra layers of protection against fraud. When you sign up for this free service, you receive instant confirmation alerts for credit applications in your name. By requiring your approval for all requests for your credit report, you can stop malicious actors from opening accounts in your name. On top of that, you’ll know when someone is attempting to steal your identity, which means you can take further steps to counteract any potential problems.

Reasons to Choose TransUnion Credit Monitoring

If you want an easy-to-use credit monitoring platform, TransUnion is an excellent option. The most comprehensive plan costs $29.95 per month for premium credit monitoring services. With this plan, you can access TransUnion’s most advanced features and view your credit score at any time. These advanced features help you better understand how credit reporting works while also protecting you from fraudsters.

If the aforementioned tools aren’t a top priority for you, TransUnion offers a free option called TrueIdentity, which provides all the basic features of credit monitoring.

Final Thoughts: TransUnion Credit Reports

Now that you understand TransUnion credit reports and credit scores, it’s time to decide whether or not you want to sign up for any of their credit monitoring or fraud prevention products. The company’s premium tools can be pricey, but TransUnion TrueIdentity is free and offers a range of excellent benefits.

While TransUnion doesn’t currently generate business credit scores, business owners may find their personal TransUnion credit score impacting their operations, especially before their venture has established its own business credit score. For example, you must obtain a merchant account to process credit and debit card payments. If you’d like to accept card payments upon opening, merchant account providers will assess your business’s risk level by considering your personal credit score, as you’ve yet to build your business’s credit score. Those wanting to start their businesses off on the best foot possible should absolutely keep track of their personal credit scores.

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TransUnion Credit Reports: FAQs

Is there a way to contact TransUnion about my credit report?

Yes. You can file a TransUnion dispute online if you believe there is a mistake on your credit report. Simply create an account on the TransUnion website, after which you can easily file and manage disputes.[3]TransUnion. “Dispute“. Accessed August 31, 2022.

Why is my TransUnion credit score so low?

Your TransUnion credit score may be low for a variety of reasons:

  • Too Much Revolving Debt: Too much revolving debt—such as credit card and line of credit debt—can result in a low TransUnion score. Try to avoid anything higher than 30 percent credit utilization.
  • Late Payments: Late payments damage your credit score. If you fail to pay credit cards and other bills on time, it might be the reason you don’t have a stellar score.
  • Defaults: If you forgo paying a bill completely, this can result in defaults and other adverse credit events.
  • Too Many Inquiries: Applying for a number of loans and credit cards in a short period can be a sign of financial stress. Inquiries stay on your credit file for up to two years, but they have their most significant impact within the first year.
  • Mistakes: Mistakes can happen, whether it’s an incorrect inquiry or a “late” payment actually made on time. If there is an item on your credit report you believe to be illegitimate, file a dispute with TransUnion.

How do I read a TransUnion credit report?

TransUnion credit reports can be challenging to read if you don’t understand the various codes and data point indicators. However, TransUnion has an exhaustive guide available to help you dissect your credit report. Additionally, TransUnion’s credit monitoring products make it much simpler to view and understand your credit score.

How often does TransUnion update my credit report?

TransUnion typically updates your credit report upon the receipt of new information. However, it can take some lenders up to 45 days to send new information to credit reporting bureaus.

Can anyone see my TransUnion Credit report?

No. In most cases, you need to provide some form of consent for someone to access your credit score. For example, a credit card application permits a lender to view your credit report.

How to remove fraud alert from TransUnion?

It’s easy to remove fraud alerts from TransUnion credit reports. Simply head to the TransUnion Service Center to add or remove fraud alerts.

What is TransUnion credit score used for?

TransUnion credit scores can be used for a range of purposes. While many TransUnion credit checks are utilized to evaluate applications for credit cards, loans, and other forms of financing, a landlord may also want your credit file to ensure you don’t have a history of missing payments.

Article Sources

  1. TransUnion. “Global Presence“. Accessed August 31, 2022.
  2. The Better Business Bureau. “Trans Union LLC“. Accessed August 31, 2022.
  3. TransUnion. “Dispute“. Accessed August 31, 2022.


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