The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). CRAs are companies that collect and maintain information about consumers’ credit history. The FCRA regulates how CRAs can use and share consumers’ credit information.
The FCRA gives consumers the right to:
- Know what’s in their credit report
- Get their credit report for free once a year from each of the three nationwide CRAs
- Dispute inaccurate or incomplete information in their credit report
- Place a “fraud alert” on their credit report if they suspect they’ve been a victim of identity theft
- Get copies of documents used to determine their credit score
What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
CRAs are companies that collect and maintain consumer information, which is then provided to businesses or other third parties for a variety of purposes. Examples include employers using CRAs to obtain background information on job applicants, landlords using CRAs to obtain information about prospective tenants, and businesses extending credit to consumers based on CRAs’ credit reports, as well as housing offices when someone applies for an apartment.
The FCRA regulates CRAs’ activities and promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in their files. The FCRA also gives consumers important rights with respect to their own information. Finally, the FCRA encourages businesses that use consumer reports to adopt procedures for handling consumer complaints about the reports.
Who does the Fair Credit Reporting Act protect?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a U.S. Federal law that protects the rights of consumers with respect to their credit information. The FCRA promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs). Under the FCRA, CRAs must take reasonable steps to ensure the information they collect and sell is accurate and up-to-date. CRAs are also required to provide consumers with a notice of their rights under the FCRA before selling their information.
The FCRA gives consumers the right to see their credit reports from CRAs, request corrections to inaccurate or incomplete information, and place a “freeze” on their credit report to prevent businesses from accessing it without their permission. The FCRA also gives consumers the right to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if they believe a CRA has violated their rights.
What are a consumer’s rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that promotes the accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies.
There are four main rights that consumers have under the FCRA:
- The right to know what’s in your credit report: Consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). You can get your free report by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
- The right to dispute errors on your credit report: If you find errors or outdated information on your credit report, you have the right to dispute them with the credit bureau in question. The bureau must investigate your claim and remove any inaccurate or incomplete information from your file.
- The right to opt out of pre-approved offers: Consumers can opt out of receiving pre-approved credit and insurance offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
- The right to know if your information has been used against you: Under the FCRA, you have the right to know if your credit information has been used against you in an adverse action such as being denied for a loan or insurance coverage. If this happens, the companies involved must provide you with notice of the adverse action and a copy of your credit report.
How can a consumer get a copy of their credit report?
A consumer can get a free copy of their credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting bureaus, as stated earlier they can do this once every 12 months. A consumer can also get a free copy of their credit report if they are denied credit, unemployed and plan to apply for unemployment within 60 days, or if they are on welfare.
How can a consumer dispute an error on their credit report?
If you find an error on your credit report, you can dispute it with the credit bureau. The credit bureau will then investigate the error and remove it if they find that it is inaccurate. You can also dispute errors with the company that provided the information to the credit bureau.
What information is included in a credit report?
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), credit bureaus are required to include certain types of information in your credit report. This includes:
- Personal information, such as your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth
- Employment information, including your current and previous employers
- Credit history, including any loans, credit cards, and other lines of credit you have open
- Public records, such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, and tax liens
- Inquiries from lenders who have accessed your report
How long does negative information stay on a credit report?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that negative information can stay on a credit report for a maximum of seven years. This applies to late payments, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and other derogatory information. However, there are some exceptions – certain types of negative information can stay on your report for up to 10 years.
How can a consumer get their credit report updated?
If you find incorrect or incomplete information in your credit report, you have the right to have it updated or corrected. You can submit a request to the credit reporting agency to have the information updated in your report.
How can a consumer get their name removed from a marketing list?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives consumers the right to opt out of having their names sold to marketing companies. If you would like to have your name removed from a marketing list, you can contact the company directly and request your name be removed. You can also contact the three main credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – and request your name be removed from their marketing lists.
How can a consumer file a complaint under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
If you find errors in your credit report, you can file a dispute with the credit reporting agency to have them corrected.
If you believe a credit reporting agency or creditor has violated your rights under the FCRA, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is a federal agency that regulates credit reporting agencies and creditors.