What is Factual Data and why is it on my credit report?

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In a Nutshell

Have you recently applied for a mortgage? If so, you may have seen Factual Data on your credit reports.
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If you’ve recently applied for a mortgage and you’re now seeing “Factual Data” on your credit reports, your home loan application may be the reason.

Factual Data is a company that offers consumer credit and verification services to the mortgage lending industry. If you see Factual Data on your credit reports, it’s likely because the company performed a credit check on behalf of a mortgage lender.

Why is Factual Data on my credit reports?

When you apply for a mortgage, a lender may check your credit to help decide if you’re a good candidate for the loan. When a lender checks your credit, otherwise known as a “credit pull,” it may trigger a hard credit inquiry. (More on that in a bit.) 

You probably already expect to see the credit pull from your mortgage lender. But you may also see “Factual Data” on your credit reports because Factual Data is a company that helps mortgage providers get credit information in the form of a “merged credit report.” 

A merged credit report is simply a report that pulls your credit information from multiple credit agencies into a single, easy-to-read report that your lender can review.  

Does Factual Data offer mortgages?

No. The company focuses on providing credit information for mortgage lenders and offers a variety of reporting services at different steps in the mortgage application process, such as prequalification soft inquiry reports, hard inquiry credit reports and debt monitoring.

Hard inquiries vs. soft inquiries

As we mentioned, Factual Data may appear on your credit reports because it’s associated with a mortgage credit inquiry (otherwise known as a “credit pull”). There are two types of credit inquiries, and the distinction between them is important.

Hard credit inquiries

A hard credit inquiry (or “hard pull”) generally occurs when a financial institution checks your credit when making a lending decision. These inquiries commonly take place when you apply for a mortgage and require your authorization.

If you suspect that Factual Data pulled your credit without your authorization, there are some steps you can take. It’s important for you to address any potential unauthorized credit activity immediately, especially if you’re concerned that you may be dealing with potential identity theft and/or fraud.

Soft credit inquiries

A soft credit inquiry (or “soft pull”) typically occurs when a person or company checks your credit as part of a background check. In the case of Factual Data, if you applied for prequalification with a mortgage lender, it was likely a soft inquiry.

Unlike hard inquiries, soft inquiries won’t affect your credit scores. And you may or may not see them show up on your credit reports, depending on the individual credit bureau doing the reporting.

To learn more, check out our article on hard and soft credit inquiries and how they affect your credit.

Next steps: What to do if there’s an inquiry or account you don’t recognize on your credit reports

Monitoring your credit is an important part of managing your personal finances. It’s always smart to double check credit inquiries on your credit reports.

In some cases, names that you don’t recognize, like Factual Credit, may appear on your credit reports because a bank or lender that you’re working with hired the company to perform the credit check on its behalf. So when you notice an inquiry from an unfamiliar company, do a little extra research before you dispute it as a credit report error.

Here’s an extra bit of good news: Credit Karma offers free tools and services to help you protect your credit.

  • Free credit monitoring This service can alert you to important changes on your credit reports. Along with checking your credit scores regularly, this feature can send you alerts so you can check any suspicious activity and report any instances of identity theft.
  • Free identity monitoring This service notifies you when Credit Karma learns there’s been a data breach involving another company in which your information may have been compromised. We’ll also give you tips on how to lock your credit with the three major consumer credit bureaus.

About the author: Sean McQuay is a long-time personal finance nerd. He’s passionate about budgets, credit cards, and earning useful rewards with minimal effort. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a father to three rambunctious kids. Read more.