What Is “Miscellaneous Reptg Agencies” On My Credit Report?

If your credit report shows an inquiry from miscellaneous reporting agencies, often listed as “miscellaneous reptg agencies,” it means a credit information provider gathered your credit information at someone’s request.

These reporting companies perform hard credit checks for many creditors and organizations.

If you gave someone authorization to pull your credit, they will typically use a reporting agency to do so.

Hard credit checks such as these, impact your credit score for up to one year, and fall off your credit report entirely after two years.

On the other hand, if you discover credit checks that are unauthorized, you should promptly take the appropriate steps to have them removed and therefore protect your credit and identity.

These steps involve contacting the relevant reporting agency, requesting party, credit bureaus, FTC, and police to stop any potential fraud and have the inquiry removed.

What does a credit reporting agency do?

A credit reporting agency (CRA) gathers credit information on behalf of potential lenders by pulling reports, typically from all three credit bureaus, and creating one inclusive record showcasing your creditworthiness.

CRAs are also known as credit information providers or credit reporting companies.

When you apply for new credit accounts through lenders like major banks, mortgage brokers, and car dealerships, they’ll often use CRAs to quickly and easily gather your credit history.

This involves sending one request instead of pulling data from multiple sources.

Many landlords, employers, and others looking to review your credit reports use reporting agencies too.

There are many CRAs, but some of the common names include:

  • CoreLogic Credco
  • Xactus LLC
  • MeridianLink, Inc.
  • SharperLending Solutions LLC
  • Equifax Mortgage Solutions
  • Factual Data

It’s nearly impossible to name every agency, but there are long lists on Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s websites.

Is “miscellaneous reptg agencies” a hard inquiry?

In most cases, a credit check that says “miscellaneous reptg agencies” is a hard inquiry since the CRA usually pulls your entire credit report.

It’s normal for lenders to perform a hard credit check as part of the application process of opening any new credit account, and there’s absolutely no difference when doing so through a CRA.

Do credit reporting agency hard checks damage my credit score?

Creditors like to see restrained, responsible credit use, which is why hard credit inquiries slightly damage your credit score to prevent excessive use.

A high number of credit checks usually indicates to the lenders that perhaps you have a tendency to open too many accounts, which can potentially hinder your ability to repay debt.

Some lenders will begin with soft inquiries to get a general idea of your credit standing before proceeding with the hard check.

These soft checks are often used to determine from a broader level whether the lender and borrower will be compatible, in order to avoid unnecessary hard credit checks.

Can credit inquiries be grouped?

Hard credit checks can be grouped as one inquiry, minimizing their impact on your credit score.

Credit bureaus understand that it can be prudent to have your credit checked multiple times within a small window while you shop around and compare interest rates and terms.

This grouping is especially helpful with miscellaneous credit agency line items, as they can come across as two to three separate checks per application, and quickly multiply when you shop around for things like a mortgage or car loan.

Grouping depends on two factors:

  1. Type of credit: It is generally available for mortgages, auto loans, and student loans since you’ll likely open only one account. Credit card applications or collection agency inquiries are usually not grouped.
  2. Shopping window: Hard credit checks are clustered together to count as one inquiry only if they are performed within a 14 to 45-day period, depending on the scoring model. Most reports indicate VantageScore uses a 14-day window, while FICO models extend it to 30 days. Each “group” of credit checks can impact your score for up to one year, and usually stays on your report for two years.

If you see that items are not grouped when they likely should be, you should contact the CRA to verify that they were coded appropriately for the type of credit.

If that doesn’t work, filing a dispute with the credit bureau may be necessary, to ensure that the information in your credit report meets FCRA requirements.

How much will my score go up when a hard inquiry is removed?

Hard credit checks generally reduce credit scores from two to ten points per inquiry or group, so you can expect a similar bounce up when the inquiry is removed or is no longer factored into your credit score calculation.

The exact change depends on your situation, including:

  • credit history
  • utilization, and
  • the number and frequency of inquiries

To avoid harm from negative credit checks, apply for accounts seldomly and only when you are likely to be approved under the terms you are willing to accept.

Can you get CRA hard inquiries removed early?

An unofficial technique people use to get negative marks removed from your credit report is early exclusion.

This is typically used to get serious items, such as bankruptcies, charge-offs, and delinquencies removed a couple months early.

While there isn’t much evidence it can be applied to hard credit checks, there’s little harm that can come from reaching out to the credit bureaus and asking if they can be removed early.

Typically, if a reporting agency has been authorized to pull your credit, often during the application process, the standard rules for hard credit checks need to be followed.

They impact your score for no more than one year and automatically fall off your credit report entirely after two years.

Some people can see their credit rebound in a matter of months, especially if the number of hard credit checks isn’t excessive and they have relatively-high credit scores.

If you have problems related to excessive hard credit checks, first make sure the credit inquiries are coded correctly so that grouping is applied and they count as one inquiry against your score.

Your credit shouldn’t suffer too much when you shop around for certain items, such as car loans or mortgage lending, in a short period.

How to remove unauthorized credit checks?

If you see an unexpected and unauthorized credit check from a “miscellaneous reptg agency” or similar, you should immediately:

  • freeze your credit
  • file reports with the appropriate authorities, and
  • take steps to have the check removed and to protect your identity

One significant exception is for debt collectors. They can lawfully pull your credit history without your authorization as standard procedure to verify your information and gather details about your ability to repay.

Pull credit reports and verify

Start by pulling all three credit reports and carefully review the items in question.

Since lenders often use reporting agencies, the number of inquiries and the names of organizations may be difficult to track.

If you are in doubt, contact the CRA listed or reach out to the party through which you applied for more information.

Freeze credit and place fraud alerts

If you discover unauthorized credit inquiries, immediately freeze your credit and place fraud alerts by calling all three bureaus:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

Freezing your credit prevents the bureaus from releasing your credit information, while fraud alerts warns creditors that additional steps need to be taken in order to confirm your identity.

Contact the entity that pulled your credit

Inform the organization that performed the credit check that it did so in an unauthorized manner. Request for removal as well as other details including:

  • who sent it in
  • when and for what purpose, and
  • anything else they have on file

Carefully document this interaction and the information you receive.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requires every entity to have a “permissible purpose” (PP) to pull your credit, so be sure to ask for theirs.

Sometimes it can also help to ask for “validation” of the inquiry as well.

Get the process started by calling right away. Then instigate a paper trail by sending a “Non-PP” letter with all relevant details:

  • stating that the credit inquiry did not have a permissible purpose. and
  • requesting that it is removed.

At this point, it’s likely best to keep your communication firm yet concise, without getting too hostile. If necessary, legal action can come later.

Contact the party who sent the request

Contact the organization that sent the request to the credit information agency.

Follow a similar procedure by first calling to:

  • inform them of the fraud
  • ask that any accounts in your name are closed, and
  • request they take steps to correct the issue, including reaching out to the CRA and credit bureaus to remove any unauthorized inquiries or accounts.

Follow up with a similar “Non-PP” letter and carefully document all interactions.

Report ID theft to FTC

Gather as much information as possible, and then visit www.identitytheft.gov to report the potential identity theft or fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a streamlined program to help resolve these problems.

You will be issued an ID Theft Affidavit, an important document that you want to keep on hand.

File a police report

Bring your ID, the FTC ID Theft Affidavit, and all other supporting documents to a local police station to file a report.

It’s also worth perhaps filing your report for identity theft at your state’s Attorney General’s (AG) Office.

Document the interactions and get copies of any police or AG reports.

File disputes with credit bureaus

If the unauthorized hard inquiry is not quickly removed, file a dispute with each credit bureau that lists the inquiry on your credit report.

Provide the following details to ensure that the investigation can easily be facilitated:

  • the ID Theft Affidavit
  • the police report, and
  • any other supporting documentation

Escalate as necessary

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have rights that allow you to sue the party responsible for pulling your credit without a permissible purpose.

Navigating the FCRA and successfully filing suit to obtain damages can be a complicated topic that often requires the help of a qualified attorney.

Proving willful noncompliance, negligence, and actual damages incurred are some of the main issues at stake.

Ongoing credit monitoring

Victims of ID theft are often at an increased risk of becoming the victim repeatedly.

It’s wise to keep your credit frozen and only unfreeze it when you apply for new accounts.

Sign up for a credit monitoring service (sometimes included with certain bank accounts or credit cards), and ensure your devices and online accounts have strong, secure passwords with state of the art encryption.

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