Experian is one of the major credit bureaus in the United States. Most of Experian’s global business comes from providing credit reports and other resources to corporate clients such as banks and lenders. Experian also allows consumers to access their credit reports and provides credit monitoring services.

Jennifer Schell Headshot
Fact Checked
Fact Checked

Annuity.org content is meticulously reviewed to ensure it meets our high standards for readability, accuracy, fairness and transparency.

Annuity.org articles are spellchecked, grammatically correct and typo-free. Annuity.org editors may revise content for clarity, logic, flow and meaning. Annuity.org only uses credible sources of information.

This includes reputable industry sources, select financial publications, credible nonprofits, official government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts.

Cite Us
How to Cite Annuity.org's Article

APA Schell, J. (2022, July 18). Experian. Annuity.org. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.annuity.org/personal-finance/credit-bureaus/experian/

MLA Schell, Jennifer. "Experian." Annuity.org, 18 Jul 2022, https://www.annuity.org/personal-finance/credit-bureaus/experian/.

Chicago Schell, Jennifer. "Experian." Annuity.org. Last modified July 18, 2022. https://www.annuity.org/personal-finance/credit-bureaus/experian/.

Why Trust Annuity.org
Why You Can Trust Annuity.org
Content created by Annuity.org and sponsored by our affiliates.

Annuity.org has been providing consumers with the tools and knowledge needed to confidently make financial decisions since 2013.

We accept limited advertising on our site to help fund our work, including the use of affiliate links. We may earn a commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

The content and tools created by Annuity.org adhere to strict editorial guidelines to ensure quality and transparency.

What Is Experian?

Experian is one of the nation’s three major credit bureaus. The company traces its roots in the United States back to 1953 and the founding of the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation. Originally an electronics business, the corporation eventually shifted its focus to credit reporting in 1968 after acquiring a San Francisco-based agency named Credit Data.

In 1996, the credit bureau changed its name to Experian and shortly thereafter merged with CCN, a corporation that had pioneered credit reporting and scoring in the UK. With that, Experian became a global corporation, further expanding its reach to countries such as Ireland and Brazil in the following years.

Today, Experian employs over 17,000 people in 44 countries around the world. The bureau’s global headquarters are ‌in Dublin, Ireland, while U.S. operations are based in Costa Mesa, California. Experian’s two main business divisions are Consumer Services and Business-to-Business.

Experian’s Consumer Services division allows consumers to access their Experian credit report for free online. Experian also uses online tools to monitor consumers’ credit reports and notify the person if fraud is detected.

Customers can contact Experian’s call center to speak with an expert about their credit reports and scores. The agency receives over 10 million of these calls each year. According to Experian, Consumer Services make up 26% of the credit bureau’s annual revenue.

The remaining 74% of global revenue comes from Experian’s Business-to-Business services. The products and services Experian provides to businesses aim to help companies grow and engage with their customer base.

Experian sells credit reports to businesses such as banks, credit unions, lenders and insurance companies. These companies then use credit reports to generate credit scores, assess a customer’s ability to pay, make informed and consistent decisions, reduce fraud and increase customer satisfaction.

What Information Does Experian Collect?

Experian, like the other major credit bureaus, collects information about consumers’ personal financial histories. These details are used to generate credit reports, which Experian sells to creditors and other financial institutions.

Credit reports are used to calculate credit scores, which are numerical representations of a person’s creditworthiness. Lenders, insurance companies and even landlords look at credit scores and credit reports to determine how safe it might be to extend credit to someone.

If you request a free credit report from Experian, you’ll see what kinds of information they collect:

Information on Experian Credit Reports
Personal Information
Name, address, birth date, current and past employers.
Accounts Information
Payment history and balances of credit cards, loans and mortgages.
Public records
Bankruptcies, tax liens and arrest records.
Recent Inquiries
Who has recently viewed your credit report and when.

Certain personal details won’t show up on your credit report. This is information that won’t impact your credit score.

Information Not on Experian Credit Reports
  • Marital status
  • Bank account balances
  • Income
  • Level of education

How Can You Freeze Your Credit With Experian?

If you have concerns about your credit score being impacted by identity theft, you can freeze your credit with Experian online.

A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, means that no one can access your credit report without your permission. Freezing your credit report doesn’t affect your credit score, but it may prevent lenders from extending pre-qualified offers.

You can freeze or unfreeze your credit report in real-time on Experian’s website. If you need to place a security freeze on your credit file, here are the steps you can take:

How To Freeze Credit With Experian
  1. Create a free Experian account.
  2. Place a freeze on your credit file.
  3. Unfreeze your file or schedule a thaw when you need to provide access to a lender.
  4. Receive alerts when your file’s freeze status changes.

Experian vs. Other Credit Bureaus

An Experian credit report will have many of the same details as another bureau’s report like personal information, account history and public records. But there are a few key features that set Experian’s credit files apart from the other reporting agencies’ files.

First, Experian’s credit reports show you status details for each of your accounts. This status tells you when the account will no longer appear on your credit report. Both positive and negative credit history items remain on your report for a set number of years, so this feature is useful for understanding how your credit might change over time.

Experian’s reports also list balance histories for open accounts and closed accounts with outstanding balances. These balance histories show what the credit limits on different accounts were and when they changed. Experian’s balance history data goes back to 2007.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making financial decisions.
Last Modified: July 18, 2022

7 Cited Research Articles

Annuity.org writers adhere to strict sourcing guidelines and use only credible sources of information, including authoritative financial publications, academic organizations, peer-reviewed journals, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts. You can read more about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and transparency in our editorial guidelines.

  1. Experian. (n.d.). Business-to-Business. Retrieved from https://www.experianplc.com/about-us/our-business-activities/business-to-business/
  2. Experian. (n.d.). Company Profile. Retrieved from https://www.experian.com/corporate/experian-profile
  3. Experian. (n.d.). Consumer Services. Retrieved from https://www.experianplc.com/about-us/our-business-activities/consumer-services/
  4. Experian. (n.d.). Credit Report Basics. Retrieved from https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/report-basics/
  5. Experian. (n.d.). Security Freeze. Retrieved from https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
  6. Khalfani-Cox, L. (n.d.). Differences In Equifax, Experian and TransUnion Credit Reports. Retrieved from https://askthemoneycoach.com/what-are-the-differences-between-equifax-experian-and-transunion-credit-reports/
  7. Watson, N. (2013). A Brief History of Experian. Retrieved from https://www.experianplc.com/media/1323/8151-exp-experian-history-book_abridged_final.pdf