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Many banks, including Discover, do not disclose internal credit evaluation methods. Apart from convincing someone at the bank to tell us, the best way to determine which credit bureau a bank uses most regularly is to ask those who’ve applied for a card from the bank which credit report saw a hard inquiry. Collecting this anecdotal data can help determine which credit bureau a bank most regularly pulls reports from. For Discover, the data available shows the bank seems to use Equifax most frequently, followed by Experian and Transunion.
Discover Credit Cards Overview
Discover offers a small but powerful collection of mostly consumer credit cards. Unlike many issuers out there, Discover is not known for its high-end travel rewards cards. Instead, Discover features several solid cash-back cards and is well-regarded for its first-year welcome bonus, Discover Cash Back Match. Discover matches cash back earned in a cardholder’s first year of account ownership at the end of the first year.
Which Credit Bureau Does Discover Use?
Discover may pull from any of three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, but it appears based on consumer-reported data the bank leans heavily on Equifax to source many credit reports, followed by Experian and TransUnion. Though evidence is limited, it seems Discover relies on specific bureaus in some states. Don’t count on data being reliable enough to guarantee the bank will pull a report from any specific credit agency when it evaluates your creditworthiness. We reached out to Discover to ask the bank which bureau it uses, but as of publishing time haven’t received a response.
Credit Bureau Used by State
No statement (except from the bank itself) should be considered definitive when it comes to which consumer credit reporting agency might report a hard inquiry from a Discover credit card application. This said, Discover may favor one bureau over another in some states.
In Alabama, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, California and Texas, it appears that Discover pulls primarily (and in some states nearly exclusively) from Equifax. While in New Jersey, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana and New Hampshire the bank seems to rely on Experian, data suggests that Discover relies on TransUnion instead in Tennessee, Arkansas, North Dakota and Washington.
When Does Discover Report to Credit Bureaus?
Like most large financial institutions, Discover seems to report to all three major credit bureaus approximately once per month. This reporting typically occurs around or just after the same time a cardmember’s monthly billing statement is issued. In some cases, changes to your credit report will appear immediately. In others, changes may take more than a month to appear on a report.
Which Credit Bureau Is Most Accurate?
In the U.S. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian remain the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies. Credit reports provided to banks, companies and authorized parties by bureaus like these allow lenders and landlords to assess the potential risk of lending or leasing. Each year the industry makes sizable profits by selling credit information—usually provided to agencies by banks and other lenders.
Reports on the same individual obtained from different bureaus are unlikely to be the same. Reports differ for myriad reasons. This makes it nearly impossible to determine which credit bureau is the most accurate. The FICO credit score system is used by most major lenders to estimate your creditworthiness.
Since each score falls within a range (for example, a score between 670 and 739 is considered “good” credit), extreme differences between FICO scores issued by credit bureaus are unlikely. Minor differences may occur due to differences in the way the score is tabulated.
How To Get a Credit Report
The free and easy way to obtain a credit report is by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com—the only website authorized to generate free reports. We’ve published a detailed article to walk you through the process. You can also call AnnualCreditReport.com directly at 1-877-322-8228.
Consumers are by law entitled to at least one free credit report per year from each of the three major U.S. agencies (Note: Since the onset of the pandemic and through the end of 2022, you’re entitled to one free credit report per week.) Individuals may request reports at any time throughout the year, and are not required to request all three reports at the same time; anyone can first request an Equifax report then request an Experian report a few months later.
If you sign up for a subscription on a credit bureau’s website, you can generate credit reports, but it usually requires a one-time or subscription fee and you won’t have access to any other credit bureau’s reports.
How To Dispute Information on Your Credit Report
If you find an error on your credit report, you can open a dispute. Prepare your personal information and supporting documentation before submitting your dispute. Dispute errors with each credit bureau online, by mail, or by phone. The bureau you filed a dispute with will typically investigate your claim and release its findings after about 30 to 45 days.
In the event results lead to a change in your credit report, you should receive a free, updated copy. If unhappy with the results of the dispute, you can resubmit your dispute with additional supporting information to help your case.
If you have concerns about your FICO score while applying for a Discover credit card, pull all of your credit reports to ensure your credit scores across the board are solid enough to qualify. This strategy also allows you to catch any errors before the bank mistakenly believes you have a poor credit history. Discover’s pre-approval process can also help you see which of its cards you’d most likely be eligible for.
In the long run it may be more effective to focus on building and strengthening your credit score across the board if you’re not sure your credit score is good enough to be approved.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Discover report authorized users to credit bureaus?
Discover reports authorized users to all three of the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Authorized users are only reported if they are at least 18 years old and if the account in question is not delinquent.
Which credit bureau is used the most?
Credit bureaus lenders use vary. Individual lenders—like Discover—may have a specific credit bureau and scoring model in favor, but in order to maximize your chances of approval for a credit card you should research which credit reports a lender will most likely base a decision on and work on improving those reports. Discover appears to use Equifax but may also rely on reports from Experian and TransUnion.
How to Improve Payment History on Your Credit Report
Pay your bills, in full, on time. The fewer late or underpaid payments you have, the higher your credit score will be. Check your free credit reports throughout the year in order to catch any misreported payments or errors that may negatively impact your credit score.
Does Discover make a hard inquiry?
It is likely Discover will make a hard inquiry on at least one of your credit reports. To get a good idea of whether or not you should risk a hard inquiry, it’s worth trying Discover’s preapproval process. A preapproval will not typically result in a hard inquiry against your credit.