The Credit Report You've Never Heard Of - The Fourth Crediit Bureau
You see the advertisements in newspapers, on TV, and on the Internet. You hear them on the radio. You get fliers in the mail. You may even get calls from telemarketers offering credit repair services.
They all make the same claims:
* “Credit problems? No problem!”
* “We can erase your bad credit — 100% guaranteed.”
* “Create a new credit identity — legally.”
* “We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever!”
Do yourself a favor and save some money, too. Don’t believe these promises. Only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit report.
Did you know that there's a fourth credit bureau of considerable influence in this country? The company is called Innovis, and you might want to contact Innovis and find out what information this company is reporting about you.
As recently as 2003, Innovis denied that it was actually in the credit-reporting business. There are numerous published reports in which the company flat-out denied that the information it gathers or sells about consumers could be used by creditors for the purpose of extending credit. Shortly thereafter, consumer advocates - like the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) - starting insisting that Innovis was in fact a credit bureau and should have to abide by the same rules as other credit agencies.
After some outside pressure and scrutiny, Innovis now acknowledges that it is, indeed a credit reporting agency. According to published reports, Innovis primarily collects negative information about consumers: things like late payments, judgments, bankruptcies, collection accounts, repossessions, and so forth. That information is then sold to banks and other financial institutions. Well, if you do get credit offers, you certainly want them to be the best ones available, like low interest rate balance transfers, for instance.
No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
But when companies buy data from Innovis, reportedly what they are screening for is people with "bad" credit - or at least people who used to have bad credit. This can have two effects on you. First, it would screen you out of the lists of top-tier consumers who are getting low-interest credit offers. Second, it makes you open game for getting a host of credit offers you probably don't want to get. Think about it for a minute: If a bank or credit card company is actively targeting consumers with poor credit histories, what kind of credit offers do you think they'll be making? More than likely, they'll be throwing out high interest-rate offers - above the 20% level - or solicitations for "secured" credit cards.
Again, if you're already considered a "sub-prime" borrower, you don't want to get these offers. So make sure you write Innovis and find out what information the company has about you.Unlike the other credit bureaus - that let you get your credit report online or talk to representatives over the telephone, Innovis doesn't make it easy to establish contact. The only way you can obtain your Innovis credit report is by writing the company.
To get your Innovis credit report, send them a letter asking for your credit file. Be sure to include your name, current address, and social security number. Innovis also requires your previous address for the last two years if you haven't been at your current residence for two years, your date of birth, a copy of your driver's license or a utility bill to verify your address, your telephone number, your current employer, and your signature.
About the Author: About The Author
Michael Saunders has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He edits a site on Credit Repair and Debt Consolidation and is president of Information Organizers, LLC.