The Fair Credit Reporting Act is designed to ensure that the information in your credit report is collected and reported with accuracy, fairness and privacy. Although the Act specifies how lenders can report your information, it doesn't require them to report the information at all. If your installment loan isn't showing up on one of your credit reports, there's no need to panic. It's not uncommon for different information to appear on each credit report.

Credit Reporting

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are separate, competing companies. Credit bureaus don't share information with each other. Each credit bureau requires the lender to set up an account to report their customer's account information. Since each credit bureau charges a fee, not all banks are willing to spend the money reporting to three bureaus. If the information is not appearing on any of your credit reports, contact the lender to ensure your name and Social Security number on file are correct.

Scoring Models

Credit scoring models use the information reported in your credit report to calculate your credit score. If an account isn't reported, it can't be factored into your credit score. The most common credit scoring system is the Fair Isaac Corporation model. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion use the FICO scoring model, in which payment history is the most significant credit score factor. Your account balances, including all your loans and lines of credit, also play a role.

Reporting Basics

The lender isn't required to report your loan to all three credit bureaus. According to, most major banks report to the three bureaus, but smaller banks usually only report to one or two bureaus. Even when a lender does report your installment loan details to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the information will not necessarily be the same. Lenders report account information to the credit bureaus at different times of the month, which can affect how the loan appears on your report.

Pulling Credit Reports

When you apply for credit, the lender won't always pull a credit report from each bureau. Your three scores are generally different. The degree of variation in your credit scores will range depending on which accounts are reported. For a major credit application, such as a mortgage, the lender will usually take the middle credit score. According to MSN Money, if two scores are the same, that number is used regardless of the third score.