Don't Ignore The Fourth Credit Reporting Agency: Innovis

Did you know there are more than three credit reporting agencies? Sure, you’ve heard of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, but what about Innovis? Smaller agencies can do just as much damage to your ability to get a good deal on credit as their bigger brethren. Learn how to pull your credit report from Innovis, inside.

Innovis can actually trace their relevance to everybody’s favorite vanguard of responsible finance, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgage backers ordered their partner organizations to report mortgage payments to Innovis back in 2001.

Unlike the other bureaus, Innovis lives almost exclusively to build mailing lists that creditors use to determine offers. If you don’t want to receive credit offers, call the one-stop opt-out number 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688) and you’ll be taken off all four bureaus’ lists for two years.

To see what dirt Innovis is reporting to potential creditors, send in the following information:

Full name
Social Security Number
Date of birth (month/day/year)
Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill, lease arrangement or rental receipt
One copy of a legible government-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, or military ID card

Mail to:

Innovis
Attention: Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 1358
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1358

The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to one free Innovis credit report each year. For free credit reports from the other three credit agencies, don’t visit any site other than AnnualCreditReport.com.

Pulling Credit Reports – Make Sure And Include Innovis [Alabama Consumer Law Blog]
The credit report you don’t know about [Bankrate]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. shorty63136 says:

    Just out of curiosity, why doesn’t AnnualCreditReport.com provide a way to get the report from Innovis like they do the other 3?

    Does Innovis not have the Web technology to handle it since it’s smaller than the other giants?

    • bikeoid says:

      @shorty63136: Good question Re: the need for AnnualCreditReport to include it with the other 3.

      Also, if it’s being used as a credit reference, consumers need to be able to freeze their Innovis credit record to prevent identity theft.

  2. dragonfire81 says:

    Why exactly do we need so many credit bureaus? Does it not further complicate the whole credit score process?

    • sleze69 says:

      @dragonfire81: How else are we to verify if someone has good credit or has defaulted on every loan they have ever received?

    • silver-bolt says:

      @dragonfire81: If you only have one, its a monopoly. Plus, with only one, if something wrong gets added, your screwed. With three or four, the chance that all three/four get a mistake on your report is slimmer.

      • johnnya2 says:

        @silver-bolt: The problem is its a crap shoot as to what bureau a creditor uses. If they pull a tri-merged many will use the middle score, and if the error is in reporting (which is usually the case) it will appear on each. I think using a flawed system to determine credit worthiness is crap and should be banned, especially since they will NOT give you the formula they use. That would be like getting a mortgage and them not telling you how your payment is broken down between PITI

        • TracyHamandEggs says:

          @johnnya2: Mortgage companies don’t pull from Innovis. They don’t provide credit scores to anyone.

          ^Mortgage companies do order reports from Innovis, but they get those reports from the other 3. Innovis does not generate their own reports for lenders. There are 50 companies out there that provide those services.

          Also, Innovis charges EVERYONE for a report, except people from MD, MA, RI and like 3 other states. Something I emailed Carey about but apparently posting correct information isnt required here.

          • johnnya2 says:

            @TracyHamandEggs!: @TracyHamandEggs!: Because you think it or type it does not make it so. Having actually DONE mortgages for a living, it is IGNORED. it is not part of ANY credit offering decision. I could have all negatives with Innovis and guarantee i would still qualify for a best rate mortgage. They are not considered, How much clearer do you need it,. Nobody cares about them. Its like somebody shouting in the middle of the ocean. Innovis can say anything, but nobody worthwhile is listening.

        • DAGOTRON says:

          @johnnya2: Most major banks use Experian for CBR score and review. As it’s been explained to me from above (I work for Wells Fargo), Experian is considered by lenders to be the most accurate and reliable. Personally, I should add that Experian is also the most stringent when it comes to evaluating your credit — it is the CB most likely to give the lowest score of the 3 major bureaus.

          • mac-phisto says:

            @DAGOTRON: that’s not entirely accurate. on the east coast, lenders are more likely to rely on TU if they only use one bureau. & equifax is largely used for consumer-based approvals (getting a cell phone, store charge card, etc.).

      • dweebster says:

        @silver-bolt: don’t they share information between themselves?

    • mugsywwiii says:

      @dragonfire81:
      Because they’re for-profit enterprises, and there is no reason to prohibit competition.

  3. silver-bolt says:

    So…. send everything needed to steal your identity in a conveniently packaged envelope that clearly dictates its intent (via the name of the receiver, ie Innovis)

  4. Claire Buoyant says:

    This is strange. Their website says that residents of some states need to pay a fee for the “free” report — then, going to the fees page, it actually looks like pretty much everyone needs to pay (“Other states: $10.50″) as far as Innovis is concerned. Are they trying to scam us? The three majors don’t charge anything through annualcreditreport.com.

  5. shorty63136 says:

    There’s also another option – not sure why this one wasn’t posted:

    Innovis currently offers two convenient ways to request a copy of your Innovis Credit Report: by phone or by mail.

    Phone: Call 1-800-540-2505. Representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET. You will be asked to verify several pieces of information prior to fulfillment of your request. Once your identity has been verified, your Innovis Credit Report will be mailed to you within three business days.

    If we are unable to complete identity verification by phone, you may be asked to submit your request by mail.

  6. Claire Buoyant says:

    I haven’t read all the links, but at an initial glance, I don’t have a good feeling about this company.

    [www.carreonandassociates.com]

  7. MsAnthropy says:

    Does Innovis have access to any information that wouldn’t be on your other credit reports anyway? I say this because when we applied for our mortgage, the lender had our credit checks done by Innovis… who pulled our credit reports from Experian and Transunion.

  8. azntg says:

    Innovis is indeed the “fourth” credit reporting agency.

    However, I think the concensus with many online credit (discussion) communities is that you can ignore them. You should know that Innovis exists and they probably have a file on you.

    However, many financial institutions will not report to them and there’s virtually no financial institutions out there that will pull Innovis before extending credit to you as well.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      @azntg:

      I was going to say… how likely would it be that any creditor would report to Innovis and only Innovis? I can’t really imagine it. So if you’re trying to clear up errors etc on one or more of your other reports, it would be worth checking Innovis as well, but otherwise… they’re probably not worth worrying about.

      I think we have enough CRAs already. What would possess anyone to want to set up another one of the things, I can’t fathom.

      • mugsywwiii says:

        @MsAnthropy:
        Money.

      • azntg says:

        @MsAnthropy: It’s extremely unlikely that any creditor would report exclusively to Innovis and almost equally unlikely that they’ll pull an Innovis report exclusively. If there is one, many of us sure haven’t heard about them.

        Just keep watch, but I wouldn’t worry too much about them (I’d put more weight to TU/EQ/EX).

        I like to think of Innovis as the Diners Club card in the United States (before they partnered with Mastercard). Very few places would take those cards. And Innovis doesn’t have the nice history of Diners Club.

        @mugsywwiii: Very well said.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @MsAnthropy: actually, it’s free to report to all of the bureaus (including innovis), so it’s unlikely that anyone would report just to them, but they might also report to them.

        there’s actually a lot more than 3 CRAs (using the gov’t’s definition) – in addition to the big 3 & innovis, you also have:
        certegy [www.fidelityinfoservices.com]
        chexsystems/SCAN [www.consumerdebit.com]
        telecheck [www.firstdata.com]
        (for reporting check writing activity)

        then there’s something called the national consumer telecommunications data exchange (NCTDE) – this is where utilities report, but i don’t think there’s anyway to obtain a report. actually, i’ve been doing a lot of research on this one lately, & it’s possible that NCTDE may now be NCTUE ([www.nctue.com]), but you still can’t obtain a report. i think they’re covered b/c they’re housed under equifax’s wing?

        expect it to get worse. new “ID theft red flags” go into affect in less than a month, which will most likely create a whole new industry of CRAs to provide compliance assistance to institutions.

  9. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    W ll knw th wknd s slw tm n th Cnsmrst wbst, s myb thy’ll lt my cmmnt g….

    Wh ls dsn’t thnk t’s Grt tht J wll prbbly strt hs tm n hll whl stll n rth, vn f t’s fr lssr crm (ths cmmnt wld b lgtmt n ths st f h ws ls cnvctd f crdt crd frd.) ‘m gng t ply n glf trnmnt t clbrt.

  10. madanthony says:

    So if all Innovis lives almost exclusively to build mailing lists that creditors use to determine offers, why should I care if my info with them is correct? I’m not really worried that they have false info that’s going to lead me to getting fewer preapproved credit card offers.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @madanthony: good question – here’s why you might care. no one really knows a whole lot about innovis & their relationship to the other 3. but it’s presumed that the big 3 rely on innovis for personal information (name, address, alias, employer, etc.).

      from my experience, i had a hard time rectifying personal information on my report & after some research i found that a large part of that problem could be innovis. if they are reporting inaccurate information about you to the bureaus, you’re unlikely to fix it without disputing directly thru innovis.

      it’s also important to note that government entities report thru innovis. judgments, liens & other data the government reports would appear here (& pass thru to the big 3). if you need to dispute one of these, this is probably the place to start.

  11. Karl says:

    They seem to ask for a LOT of personal information for a credit report, like proof of your current address and a copy of your ID. As a comparison, here’s the mail-in form for the big three. I wouldn’t be surprised if they used this information to supplement whatever they have on you and then sell that information to creditors.

    • dweebster says:

      @Karl: Maybe they’re looking to move up into the “Big 3″ of credit reporting agencies by improving their database with info you “voluntarily” give ‘em??

    • thelushie says:

      @undefined: Actually, a red flag went up with me when it asked for proof of address. It sounds fishy. I honestly don’t care if they have a file on me as I have a notion that the info in the other three reports is more important, but if they do and are selling it, there is no way in hell I am correcting it.

  12. quirkyrachel says:

    So what you’re saying is that we’re mice stuck in a credit maze, and multiple credit companies wave our credit scores overs us and sit back and watch as we attempt to be good little consumers and check our credit score?

  13. scredly says:

    I’ve have an issue with credit bureaus. The whole idea that these companies profit from compiling and selling personal information I have never given my permission to use or release bothers me. How is this legal? Seriously!

    Before the free credit report programme, I had to PAY to verify the information they were SELLING about me was correct. What utter BS! They should be paying me for first-hand confirmation that their data is correct. It takes me time to go through the process of obtaining the report and reviewing the data – this is a valuable service that only benefits the credit bureau.

    It’s funny that the credit bureaus have transferred the responsible to the consumer to verify personal information they have no control over and will be barred from credit/good rates if there are errors made by others with their personal information. “Hey , we give the report to you for free! It’s YOUR fault if you don’t take advantage of our generous offer to allow you to scrub our database for free.” What’s our reward? What is our compensation for this service -more unwanted credit offers.

    The consumer is nearly powerless to have bad info corrected in a timely manor despite (flimsy) laws that are supposed to protect them in these, unfortunately common, instances. Also despite the fact that either the finance institution or the credit bureau is generally the one responsible for mis-reporting the data.

    I’m sure loan docs and finance agreements contain fine print that authorises the lender to send my payment info the the credit bureaus. But what credit bureaus? I’m sure they’re not named as to limit to whom the info may be sent. Why don’t I have any control over where my personal info is sent? As far as I know participation is not voluntary.

    I understand credit bureaus make lending decisions easier and quicker and thus helps keep lending costs down, but I do not want my info used to be screened for credit offers I did not request.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @scredly: you can opt-out of pre-screened credit offers with the bureaus. i understand your discomfort with the idea that your personal data (that virtually anyone can access with a few identifiers) is part of a huge data mine. but what can you do?

      up until a few years ago, you simply could not sue CRAs. that is beginning to change, which will result in more rights, better access & fewer misreports. it’s slow movement, but remember that up until 10 years ago, hardly anyone knew these companies even existed.

    • mike says:

      @scredly: Well, you’re partially right. When you do business with ABC corp and you default on a loan, they may want to tell XYZ corp not to trust you because they are, like, BFF.

      That’s how the whole credit reporting started. People in the business community wanted a way to tell other business owners about bad loan keepers. Someone found a way to compile that information.

      In some ways, they aren’t selling your information; they are selling their sale information. Your name just happens to be on it.

      It’s not a perfect system but just goes to show how much credit has ruined our society.

    • @scredly: I feel your anger; it really gets me, too, that I’m not even treated like a customer by the credit reporting companies — because I’m not; I’m their product. Not only am I their product, but I have virtually no say in how or whether they market me, or to whom; and as we’ve recently seen, it often takes a court smackdown to even get them to change blatantly wrong information that they’re spreading about me.

      What we need is a law that makes personal information YOUR PROPERTY. That way, if companies want to collect it and sell it, they can get your permission and give you a cut; and if they damage it (via incorrect reporting), you can nail them for it in court. Not just the credit reporting people, but also data aggregators and even websites that collect and sell information, could be much more easily regulated if we could just OWN our personal information already!

      That law would also make identity theft a lot easier to prosecute; rather than waiting on the Feds or cops who don’t know a computer from a microwave, just nail the thieves for what they are: THIEVES. I mean, how whacked out is it that we even *call* it “theft”, but it’s not actually a theft crime??

  14. econobiker says:

    And the fifth service for those wanting to use old-school paper checks for payments:

    Certegy Check Services, Inc

    [www.fidelityinfoservices.com]

    Looking on the net, it seems that not only does Certegy decline checks but also debit cards…