Consumer reporting agencies (CRA) are entities that furnish consumer reports, including those that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis and those that are restricted to certain categories of records including: medical records or payments, residential or tenant history, check-writing history, employment history, or insurance claims. These are called nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. CRAs also include resellers that re-package reports for banks and other third parties.
Some examples of CRAs may include creditors, data brokers, collection agencies, check approval companies, attorneys, alternative credit bureaus, etc. A full up to date list as of 2023 can be seen at consumerfinance.gov. The three largest CRAs in the United States are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Note that whether an institution is considered a CRA or not significantly impacts its legal responsibilities as shown through the following case illustrations:
- National bank was not considered a CRA under FCRA by virtue of its reporting customer information to a third-party company.
- Another definition for CRAs
- Legal duties surrounding CRAs
- Wireless communication provider had duty to investigate a customer’s dispute regarding debt owed.
[Last updated in April of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]