What Is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is federal legislation that was passed in 1970. It determines who can access or collect a consumer’s credit information and how that information ought to be used. The purpose of FCRA is to protect the rights and privacy of the consumer and make sure all credit files are accurate. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are in charge of enforcing the FCRA.
Fair Credit Reporting Act & Consumer Reports
As a consumer, all your credit information is stored in a credit report, otherwise known as a consumer report. The viewing and usage of these reports is what the FCRA is all about. For the most part, credit reports contain your personal information, such as your address and birth date, and your credit history. Credit histories include data such as your credit account information, how much credit you have, your credit score, your payment history, whether or not you’ve ever declared bankruptcy, and more. It serves as a progress report for how you handle debt.
Consumer Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair credit reporting act lays out the rights of the consumer and specific regulation for credit agencies. For example, if a consumer requests to see their credit report or score, credit agencies are required to comply, so long as the consumer can properly identify themselves. (These transactions usually cost a small amount of money). Credit agencies are also forbidden from showing your credit file to anyone who lacks legitimate business needs. And they aren’t allowed to give your credit information to a prospective employer without your written consent.
Consumers also have the right to dispute information on their credit report that they feel is inaccurate. Credit agencies are required to investigate any disputed content and make the necessary changes. They also have to keep the information on consumer files up to date: anything outdated (usually older than 7 years) needs to be removed according to the FCRA.
In addition to these regulations, consumers can request to have their names removed from marketing lists, so they won’t be contacted by or receive offers from creditors or insurers. They can also request that certain fraud or identity theft alerts be put on their accounts. Military service members in active duty can even take advantage of active duty alerts, which protect against identity theft while the service member is away from home. If you are a victim of identity theft, the FCRA ensures that you get the help you need to remedy its effects.
Consumer Rights for Victims of Identity Theft
According to the FCRA, if your identity is stolen, you can request free copies of your credit history from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. If you have extended fraud alerts on your account, this will entitle you to subsequent copies no later than one year after the alert is placed. Furthermore, under the FCRA, you have the right to ask in writing for the records of any fraudulent transactions involving your identity. Creditors are required by law to provide you with this information. Victims of identity theft also have the right to inquire after fraudulent debt and ask for evidence of the identity theft to be removed from their account.
For more information on your rights as a victim of identity theft, visit this site.
Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)
The three major Consumer Reporting Agencies in the United States are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. These three agencies, also known as credit bureaus, collect your credit information from a number of different sources, such as bankers, creditors, or insurers. This information is compiled into your credit report. If anyone wants to review your credit report, they have to request a copy from one of the three major agencies listed. Credit agencies such as these are held to the highest standards of security and accuracy when it comes to creating consumer reports.
Besides these three, there are other companies that the FCRA has authorized to compile consumer reports. Some examples of these include: Telecheck, Central Credit, Acxiom, Innovis, Tenant Data Services, LexisNexis, and Teletrack. Unlike Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, these other agencies can provide consumer reports without a central source website.
Owning the Credit World
Being a mortgage lender, Low VA Rates is in the know when it comes to the proper handling of credit. We want to help all veterans and military service members tackle the challenges of debt; that’s why we strive to offer outstanding customer service and some of the highest rated professionals in the industry. Talk with one of our experienced loan officers to learn how we can help you take advantage of VA loans and improve your credit.