28 May 2015

DEFINITION of ‘Furnisher’
A company that provides information about a consumer, including credit history, to a credit bureau. Furnishers are typically organizations that provide financial services, such as banks and credit card companies, but may also include debt collection agencies and other companies that process financial information.

Before providing credit – whether a mortgage, a car loan, a student loan, or a credit card – to an individual, a company will want to understand the potential risk that they are taking on. In order to make an estimate as to the creditworthiness of an individual, financial institutions and other companies want to collect as much historical information about the borrower. How much debt does the individual have? What is his or her existing line of credit? Has the individual declared bankruptcy in the past?

All of the information that a company can collect about an individual is compiled and analysed in order to establish a consumer report. One of the most commonly-recognized consumer reports is a credit rating, which is a score used to indicate whether a consumer presents a credit risk.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates the activities of companies that provide consumer information. Furnisher regulations include the methods used to collect consumer information, the sources of the information, and the accuracy of the information. Furnishers must ensure that any information passed to a reporting bureau can be backed up by records, and the information is provided in a clear manner so as to reduce the possibility of wrong conclusions being made. Furnishers are required to have written policies and procedures relating to how it ensures the accuracy of the information that it collects.

A consumer may directly dispute the information provided by a furnisher if he or she believes that the information contained in a consumer report or relating to an account is inaccurate.

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