The Free Credit Reporting Act

Posted on May 21, 2015 in Credit Bureaus

The Free Credit Reporting Act requires that the 3 Credit Bureaus provide Americans with their Credit Report once a year.

What is the 'Free Credit Reporting Act?'

In an effort to promote accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act was developed. This act outlines the various stipulations that are associated with credit reports and credit reporting bureaus. The FCRA was designed to help consumers understand their rights with the growing number of credit reporting agencies out there. Below are some of the major points of the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

You must be told if information in your file has been used against you: With your credit reporting being used in more and more situations these days if anyone uses your credit information to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment must tell you and they must also give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.

You have the right to know what is in your file: At any given time you may request all of the information in your credit report. In order to receive this information you will need to provide proper identification, including your social security number. In 2005 consumers started to receive free credit reports once every 12 months. You may also receive free credit reports if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • A person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit report;
  • You are the victim of identify theft and place a fraud alert in your file;
  • Your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud;
  • You are on public assistance;
  • You are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.

You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information: If you find any information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate you have the right to report that information to the consumer reporting agency. The agency then must investigate your dispute unless it is considered frivolous. More information about how to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information can be found here.

When dealing with your credit report it is important that you understand all of your rights as a consumer so that you can be well prepared to handle any problems that may arise with the consumer reporting agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was instituted as a way to help consumers understand their rights when it came to dealing with creditors, businesses, or employers who took adverse action against them based on information in their credit report. Having a poor credit rating is never a fun thing and being discriminated against because of information within your credit report can compound your issues. By knowing your rights as set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act you will be better prepared to fight any one who is infringing on your rights as a consumer.

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