Common Questions

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What is data reporting, and how much does it cost?

Data reporting is simply sending consumer payment information to a CRA( Credit Reporting Agencies) to help improve your collection efforts and benefit those consumers who continue to pay you on time. The CRA’s do not charge you to report.

What are the benefits of reporting credit?
  • Promoting on-time payments can provide your customers with an opportunity to build or establish credit.
  • Reinforces borrower incentives to manage credit wisely and avoid delinquencies and defaults. Reporting credit improves the performance of the entire market and lowers the costs of making credit available.
  • Better information results in better lending. Sharing payment information provides other creditors the information they need to avoid overextending your customers. As a result, your customers will be in a better position to pay their loan on time.
  • Customers who know you are reporting payment history are more likely to make on-time payments.
  • Allows a collection agency better leverage to collect a debt
How long does it take the Credit Repositories to update accounts after submission?
  • Once the Credit Repository has received your first batch of accounts, they will run extensive processes to verify the data which you have submitted. They may also request additional information from your company and may have you manually verify the data which was submitted.
  • Because of the time involved in this initial verification processed the first batch of accounts may not be updated for several weeks. Once the bureaus have approved your accounts, they will typically update the accounts within a thirty day period.
  • This process and time delay will vary between bureaus. Please contact your sales representative at the bureau for their policies.
How does a company report consumer credit?
  1. CREDIT REPORTING EXPERTS will contact each CRA (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) which you will be reporting with, and establish a Data Service Agreement. This is a separate agreement for pulling reports and reporting credit.

  2. All businesses reporting to the CRA’s, must meet the minimum reporting requirements established by each CRA.

  3. Once you have established a Data Furnisher or Service Agreement with one or more of the CRA’s  and meet their account reporting minimums, then you are ready to purchase Metro 2 software which will accurately report your consumers accounts.

  4. CRE will assist in entering or updating your accounts into the Metro 2 software monthly.

  5. The software will perform validity checks on the accounts, to ensure the information which you have entered, is compliant with the latest regulations related to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA) and the Metro 2® format layout specifications.

  6. Send your accounts to the CRA’s which you have a reporting agreement with. Once the Credit Repository has received your accounts, they will run extensive processes to verify the data which you have submitted. They may also request additional information from your company and may have you manually verify the data which was submitted. Because of the time involved in this initial verification process, the first batch of accounts may not be updated for several weeks. Once the bureaus have approved your accounts, they will typically update the accounts within a thirty day period. This process and time delay will vary between bureaus. Please contact your sales representative at the bureau for their policies.

  7. Repeat steps 4-7 on a monthly basis. Please note: Monthly reporting is required by all credit reporting agencies. Customers which do not report on a monthly basis, risk termination of their reporting agreement and accounts purged from their databases.
How many of my customers will have credit for the first time?

This number will vary depending on each company’s customer base. As part of the CRA’s service prior to reporting, they can perform an analysis of your customer portfolio, which will include this information.

Does data reporting hurt consumers?

The accounts that you currently send to collections or write off are usually already being reported to a CRA as derogatory or delinquent. The majority of your other customers who do pay on time should actually benefit positively from data reporting.

If I report trade lines to one CRA, do my trade lines show on the other CRA's?

The credit reporting agencies (CRA) are separate entities and maintain their own databases, therefore your trade lines will only be displayed on the bureaus which you submit data and have a reporting agreement with.

What is a Stacking Service or Third Party Processor?

A Stacking Service or Third Party Processor, will accept accounts from multiple customers who do not meet the current bureau account reporting minimums, combine the accounts together and submit a “stacked” file to the bureaus. You must be approved by the credit bureaus to use this service, meet their processor reporting minimums and have a data furnishers or service agreement with each bureau to which The Service Bureau will forward your accounts. This service is available for Equifax, and TransUnion, additional processing fees apply.

We do not meet the minimum number of accounts to report to the credit bureaus. What are our options?

Each Credit Bureau has their own policy on reporting minimums. Basically, you should report your entire portfolio. If you are still unable to meet their minimums, the bureaus may allow you to report through a Third Party Processor/ Stacking Company. You will need to have Metro 2® compliant software and a data furnisher’s agreement with Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion in order to use this service.

How often do we need to report?

Most companies report monthly to CRA’s.

How will reporting affect your customers' credit scores?

Based on how your customers payment history, this will determine whether it has a positive or negative affect on their scores, if they pay on-time it will benefit them greatly, if they choose to pay late or not at all then it will affect them negatively.

What is the Metro 2® Format?

 

  • In 1997, the credit reporting industry initiated the use of the “Metro 2®” format which became the industry standard for reporting debtor information.

 

  • The Metro 2® format layout was developed by Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) to replace the Metro format which was developed in the late 1970’s. The Metro 2® format layout is described in the Metro 2® Credit Reporting Resource Guide. It facilitates complete and greater accuracy of reporting of data and provides the following features:
  • The Metro 2® format is designed to be easier to use and understand;
    • provides one standard computer format to be used for reporting accurate, complete and timely consumer credit information; 
    • meets all requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA); 
    • allows for reporting information at both the account and consumer levels; 
    • allows reporting on debtors that “cannot be located” 
    • allows reporting of deferred payments and “associate” borrowers/debtors information; 
    • Identification numbers can be changed to accommodate transfer or sale of debt (asset sales); and, 
    • the format accommodates a 4-digit “year” field to accommodate reporting in the year 2000 and beyond.

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