What is the Metro 2® Format?
Consumer Data Industry Association®, the trade group representing the credit reporting industry, adopted a standard electronic data reporting format called Metro 2® format beginning in 1996. The Metro 2® format was created in order to comply with 1996 amendments to present with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and is designed to allow reporting of the most accurate and complete information for a consumers’ current month, which may include previous history control information upon the account opening and closing periods.
Are you required to be a member of the credit bureau(s) to report your credit information and what are the requirements?
Yes. Your office must have a data furnisher’s or service agreement with each credit bureau to which your office wishes to report credit account information. Each credit bureau has different requirements for minimum number of accounts for reporting. Please contact each credit reporting bureau you wish to report your account data into to verify how many accounts they will accept.
The credit bureaus require a Data Furnisher’s or Service Agreements for reporting accounts. This is a separate agreement from pulling credit reports. The credit bureaus also require a minimum number of accounts, even if you are reporting through Hutchins Systems, Inc. as a third party processor or any other processor. We have provided phone numbers and account minimum requirements below for each credit repository for your convenience.
www.equifax.com – Request Equifax sales to email you a new member package.
Minimum 500 open accounts with a balance to report directly to Equifax. Exceptions are made for Banks and Credit Unions which only require 100 accounts. If you are a mortgage company or are financing homes backed by any government agency you may be exempt from the 500 minimum accounts rule for reporting. Members of NABD/NIADA/BHPH are required to have only 50 accounts. Please call the Equifax sales department to find out their full details on their reporting requirements.
www.experian.com – Request Experian sales to email you a new member package.
800-831-5614 Ext. 4
New members: Also remind sales that your office will need a subscriber number and a vendor identification number assigned (they will need to fill out a SQD form at Experian).
NO Minimum Account Volume Requirements. Please contact Experian Sales at the above number for a new membership package kit. Please be sure to request a Vendor Identification Number for reporting data to Experian direct. Hutchins Systems’ (Credit Time 2000©) Metro 2® credit reporting software has been approved by Experian as a preferred vendor for small to medium companies which only have a small to medium volume of account’s to report.
www.transunion.com – Request Trans Union sales to email you a new member package.
866-922-2100 Ext. 3
The minimum requirement for reporting to Trans Union will be 100 accounts the first month only.
www.cbcinnovis.com – Request Innovis sales to email you a new member package.
Minimun 5,000 accounts for direct reporting.
Notice: The minimum number of accounts listed above may vary. Please contact each credit bureau you wish to report with and verify how many accounts they will accept for direct reporting or reporting through a 3rd party processor. Each credit bureau has their own policies for the minimum number of accounts to report and membership requirements. These policies may vary between regions and the type of business. Hutchins Systems, Inc. does not determine credit bureaus policies.
What status codes/ ratings codes may we report to the credit bureaus?
You may select the status code that property identifies the current condition of the account as of this month or the month you will be reporting.
Valid codes are:
NOTE: Third Party Collections/Factoring/Debt Purchasing Companies and Attorneys may only use codes 62, 93, and DA or DF.
05 – Account transferred to another office.
11 – Current Account (0-29 days past the due date).
13 – Paid or closed account/zero balance.
61 – Account paid in full, was a voluntary surrender.
62 – Account paid in full, was a collection account.
63 – Account paid in full, was repossession.
64 – Account paid in full, was a charge-off.
65 – Account paid in full. A foreclosure was started.
71 – Account 30 – 59 days past the due date.
78 – Account 60 – 89 days past the due date.
80 – Account 90 – 119 days past the due date.
82 – Account 120 – 149 days past the due date.
83 – Account 150 – 179 days past the due date.
84 – Account 180 days or more past the due date.
88 – Claim filed with the government for insured portion of balance on a defaulted loan.
89 – Deed received in lieu of foreclosure on a defaulted mortgage.
93 – Account seriously past due and/or assigned to internal or external collections.
94 – Foreclosure completed/credit grantor sold collateral to settle defaulted mortgage.
95 – Voluntary surrender – ** Please do not report status code 95 for early termination of leases. (Please See Special Comment options).
96 – Merchandise was repossessed by credit grantor; there may be a balance due.
97 – Unpaid balance reported as a loss by credit grantor (charge-off).
DA – Deletes entire account -(for reasons other than fraud).
a) Accounts which have been cancelled and returned to the original creditor. b) Accounts which have been forwarded or sold to another company or entity. c) Accounts reported in error.
DF- Delete entire account due to confirmed fraud (Account investigation completed).
Paid Derogatory accounts, such as collections, should be reported as paid; those accounts should not be deleted with a DA status.
Are there hidden charges after I lease your Credit Time 2000© Metro 2® software that I will later be billed for?
All software companies should clearly define all costs for their support and upgrades before you make a decision to lease or purchase their Metro 2® credit reporting software. If you do not understand or it is not clearly define in their service agreement or on their web site, inquire about the three questions below directly:
a) What are the charges for support calls or with credit assistance issues? Do you bill per call, per minute, per hour? How am I going to be billed?
Hutchins Systems, Inc. – customer’s under an annual support plan or under a lease plan: There is no charge for the call or email, no matter how long it may take or how many are placed until the incident or incident’s are resolved.
b) How long does it take your office to respond to a call or email?
Hutchins Systems, Inc. customers:
During business hours: Usually immediately but no more than 1-2 or less hours.
After business hours (Monday – Thursday 10-5pm EST):
You may lease a message with support at 833-387-7545 × 2. Or go to our web site www.credittime2000.com, select the contact button and enter your support request. Please allow 24-48 hours to respond (usually sooner).
c) If I call or email three times in one day for support, will I be billed for three different times?
Hutchins Systems, Inc. – Under support or lease, NO. No cost to you.
Many other vendor’s charge per minute or by the hour or by the call time, please be sure to check (and receive this in writing) how your support will be charged before leasing or purchasing your credit reporting software.
Credit Time 2000©’s lease includes:
a) Free unlimited phone and email support per year.
b) Each renewal of your license for use grant’s continued use of Credit Time 2000© and support.
If your office decides not to continue to report, or if you sell your business, just send us a 60 day written cancellation notice by certified mail and return your leased Credit Time 2000© software along with your manual’s.
Support fees charged by other software companies vary from one company to another, usually hourly rates or monthly, semi-annual or annual rates are charged for support issues. For example some Metro 2 software companies charge hourly support and you do not have to be under a support plan. Support calls from their clients can be as much $80.00 per hour. If you request 10 support calls, under one hour, over a year your comparable annual fee would be around $800.00. Hutchins Systems, Inc.‘s Credit Time 2000©’s $300.00 annual software license fee, (includes your phone and email support) allows you to request as many support incidents as your office needs without worrying about high support costs or blowing your budget. You totally control what you need with one fee with our annual lease or lease renewal option. We feel our annual renewable licensed fee for Credit Time 2000© is very competitive in today’s software market. Software companies must continuously upgrade their software products to work with the latest computer hardware and changes to operating system software. In addition to these changes, software companies must update their Metro 2 software with new required fields or special codes based on the credit bureaus or new Federal or State Laws that will impact consumers.
Do I have to report my account's every month?
Yes. In order to be in Federal Compliance (FCRA, FACTA, FDCPA) with all national credit reporting agencies, you must report your consumers (to Experian, Equifax, Trans Union, Innovis, and MicroBilt) and your business credit accounts (to Experian, Equifax, Trans Union and MicroBilt) each and every month, at least one time during that month.
How do I transfer/import or convert my existing accounting files directly into Credit Time 2000© Metro 2® Format?
Currently, we do not offer our client(s) an import option within Credit Time 2000©. We simple do not believe mapping data fields by inexperience users’ who are not familiar with all of credit bureau’s different types of reporting formats by industry and requirements will only result in not reporting your credit account’s truly accurately. Such a high degree of incorrect information on consumers’ credit files (due to import defaults) will cause more work for the credit bureaus and your company in correcting errors and handling consumers’ disputes. The Metro 2® format has a massive number of required data fields for complying to the 1996 Fair Credit Reporting Act. The majority of most accounting software systems do not have all of these required Metro 2® format fields or assigned credit bureaus reporting codes. The Metro 2® Credit Format has special assigned credit bureau codes, including special comment field, bankruptcy codes field, and payment rating history codes field that are only used only by the credit industry for displaying correct information on a consumers’ credit file.
Credit bureau aging rules for aging account ratings are often different from most in-house accounts receivable packages. For consumer reporting purposes, an account is not deemed to be delinquent until 30 days past the due date. An example would be importing from auto dealer’s loan management software system, QuickBooks, or any loan finance software where an account is deemed delinquent one day past the due date. Thus the question, “How are you going to automate the correct ratings of your account status when the correct credit bureaus status during your mapping of your data fields selection to the Metro 2® format when the account aging is so different?” You should direct the question to any Metro 2® credit reporting software vendor(s) that allow importing to the Metro 2® option or that are performing data conversions to the Metro 2® format the following questions:
a) How does your software system handle the aging issue problem or any of the standard missing required Metro 2® fields?
b) How does your system handle missing required credit defined codes not available on our files? Such as bankruptcies, special comments, consumer compliance indicator’s missing from our system? – Please ask the vendor if you are required to manually update each and every account for these each month for each account you are reporting?
c) Does your Metro 2® import function assign default codes for many of the credit bureau required codes for every record even when each account is unique in it’s biographic origin and detail terms under contract agreement to your office?
d) How are you going to know when you perform updates or changes to your credit reporting file for the consumer’s name, address, social security number or a combination of those fields or a change to your account existing numbers that are being reported to the credit bureaus (which notifies each bureaus of the areas that must be corrected)? A conversion or import software product can not offer your office these required reporting features.
It is very simple, importing or conversions can not possibly perform accurately without you providing required formatted fields of the entire Metro 2® FCRA guidelines in either an ASCII or data base format that will match all of the required fields of the Metro 2® format before you begin importing. Then once imported or converted, how much time for each account will be required to correct all the issues that were not addressed from the conversion or importation of your account data?
You must make an informed decision to weigh all avenues to what would be the most beneficial to your office, your staff hours and your liability. Does the imported file into Metro 2® format meet the new federal consumer credit laws (FACTA and FCRA ) requirements?
If you are required to do all the steps for importing or conversion with follow up for each account, why not write or program the Metro 2® format? Or you may wisely select the option of leasing or purchasing the Metro 2® credit reporting software. We believe reporting consumers’ accurate and complete information should be a priority for reporting a consumers’ credit history. We have built our 28 year reputation and experience in the credit reporting industry into our Credit Time 2000© Metro 2 credit reporting software package to provide the best and most accurate Metro 2® reporting software on the market.
My office only has a few accounts and we wish to report both good credit customers and my bad credit customers to the credit bureaus. Will we be able to report our accounts' to the credit bureaus?
This will depend on your first month’s volume of accounts and if your office will meet the reporting requirements of your selected credit bureau(s). Some of the credit bureaus will require your office to have a minimum number of accounts and if your office is a member of Equifax, your office must have 500 open balance accounts (not including paid in full accounts or closed accounts) before your office can become a reporting member. If your seleted credit bureau is
in the district, remember you may enter accounts as far back as 6.5 years on all accounts you wish to report. You may also enter up to 24 months of prior month’s payment history on your consumer’s accounts in Credit Time 2000©. Currently, Experian Credit Bureau is the only major credit bureau that will accept new members with no minimum volume requirements. Please contact us at 866-858-7186 or Experian’s New Member Sales Department at 800-831-5614 Ext. 3 for more information on how to become a member.
Two special considerations must be met:
1. Your office must have our Credit Time 2000© Metro 2® software or some other Metro 2® credit reporting format. 2. Your software must be a Metro 2® format that we can process with others and still meet the national bureau minimum reporting requirement.
(Call us to see if your office meets these 2 considerations – 866-858-7186 (toll free)
If my office meets the two special considerations for reporting through Hutchins Systems, Inc., do I have to sign a service agreement with Hutchins Systems, Inc.?
This signed agreement sets the expectations of your bureaus about reporting monthly to the credit bureaus to stay within Federal Reporting Compliance and FACTA Federal laws. The processing obligations and the agreement will set a monthly cost for reporting through our company.
Does Credit Time 2000© report all of the new special comments codes, all of required Metro 2® field's and codes of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2011 (FACTA) requirement's for collection agency/factoring/debt collector's reporting to the national credit bureaus?
If your office is a collection/factoring/debt purchaser company, Credit Time 2000Â© will report the Metro 2® collection format specifying the company that was the original grantor of the credit account and the original classification by industry of that company (FCRA GUIDELINES).
If your office is a trade line account, Credit Time 2000© will report the Metro 2® Trade Line format for trade companies with the selected applicable codes for your industry type.
Hutchins Systems, Inc.’s Credit Time 2000© was the FIRST Metro 2® software vendor in to submit our Metro 2® Trade/Collection format test run, the first time to credit bureaus, without a single error! Our 28 years of credit experience and knowledge of the credit reporting industry is our best asset!
If my office meet's the minimum requirements for reporting to the credit bureau, can we still utilize Hutchins Systems, Inc. to process and send my account's to the credit bureaus and use the benefits your office offers for this option?
Some Credit Time 2000© user’s and other Metro 2® software system’s prefer to submit their Metro 2 credit reporting file directly through our Secured FTP upload site. We offer processing on a monthly basis, auditing of your data entry as often as you select this option and monitor all submissions to your credit bureau(s). We also maintain 6 month’s backup of your consumer credit files in case your computer system crashes, or when you do not have a good backup procedure in place, or someone accidentally deletes your files. If your office is a Credit Time 2000© customer (a re-conversion fee will be applicable), or your office utilizes another vendor that offers a re-conversion of data option, we can help easily remedy the loss of your data bases and your Metro 2® files, if you are currently utilizing our monthly service for reporting through Hutchins Systems, Inc.