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What does TransUnion do?

TransUnion is one of the three major credit reference agencies (CRAs) operating in the UK, alongside Experian and Equifax. This means that it’s one of the three main companies that keep track of people's credit history. Let's look at how it works, what data it holds on you, and when you should reach out to it.

What is a credit reference agency?

A credit reference agency (CRA) is an independent organisation that collects and analyses data about businesses or individuals to predict their creditworthiness.

CRAs also provide tools and information to help lenders make informed decisions about lending and to help people understand their credit history and improve their credit scores.

The part that's important to remember for you is that CRAs, including TransUnion, collect and store information about how well people manage their debts and loans. This information then helps lenders decide whether to lend money to someone and at what interest rate.

Is TransUnion a UK company?

No, TransUnion is an American company based in Chicago, Illinois. According to its website, it collects information on over one billion people in over 30 countries and works with over 65,000 lenders worldwide. It is also registered on the New York Stock Exchange and its stock is a component of the Russell 1000 index, which tracks the prices of the top 1,000 US stocks.

However, in the UK, TransUnion operates through a subsidiary called TransUnion International UK Ltd., with a registered office address in Leeds, West Yorkshire and another one in London. TransUnion entered the UK by acquiring the local credit reference agency Callcredit Information Group in 2018, which is why you’ll often see references to Callcredit in older articles about credit score.

How can I get my TransUnion credit report and score?

Unlike Experian or Equifax, TransUnion does not have a premium subscription through which to get your credit report and score directly from them.

Instead, you’ll have to sign up to one of TransUnion’s partners: Credit Karma, MoneySuperMarket, or MoneySavingExpert.

The good news is that it’s free to do so, and you can view your TransUnion credit report and score completely for free. In exchange, these services earn a small commission whenever you decide to take a loan or credit card from one of the companies advertised on their websites.

What information does TransUnion have about me?

TransUnion holds information about you that lenders need to verify your identity and creditworthiness. This includes:

  • Your name, current address, and previous addresses from the past six years.
  • Whether you're registered to vote.
  • How many credit accounts you've had in the past six years, when you opened them, and how regularly you pay your bills, including any missed or late payments.
  • How much credit is available to you and how much of it you use.
  • Who you're financially associated with, such as a spouse with whom you have a joint mortgage.
  • Whether you've had a default, bankruptcy, CCJ, or IVA in the past six years.

You don't need to provide this information to TransUnion yourself. They collect it automatically from public records and the companies you have a relationship with, such as your bank, mobile phone company, or credit card provider.

This information is updated every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on when these companies send updates to TransUnion.

Keep in mind that not all lenders, banks, or utility companies work with TransUnion. This means that your Equifax and Experian credit reports and scores might look slightly different.

What can TransUnion help with regarding my credit report or credit score?

TransUnion collects and maintains credit information, but does not decide what goes on your credit report. That is determined by the companies that provide the data, such as banks and lenders.

TransUnion also cannot help you get approved for loans or understand why applications were refused. They act more as a mediator between you and your creditors.

The main services TransUnion provides to you as an individual are:

However, if you want to improve your TransUnion credit score, TransUnion does not have a “boost” service similar to Experian Boost.

The good news, though, is that now there are many apps that can help you build and improve your credit score. One such app is Wollit.

Wollit works by reporting a fixed-fee monthly subscription as a loan repayment to all credit reference agencies. This helps you build a history of timely debt repayments, which is the main factor that matters for your credit score. Checking your TransUnion credit score is great, but if you’re looking for an app that can actually improve it, you might get more mileage from a credit-building app like Wollit.

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Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.