A credit reporting agency is a company that creates your credit report and sells that data to businesses. The three major consumer credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

The reason a company might want to purchase this information is to look for responsible borrowers to whom they can make credit offers. Other people that might review your credit reports include potential employers, insurance agencies and landlords. What’s more, the information on your credit reports is used to create your credit scores.

Each credit reporting agency gives you access to your credit report for free once per year via AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s important to check all three at least once per year.

Click here to learn more about these agencies and how they work.