Chloe Meltzer | October 19, 2022
Summary: The FCRA protects consumers from unfair or damaging activity on their credit scores, but what exactly does that mean? This article will tell you everything you need to know about the FCRA.
FCRA stands for Fair Credit Reporting Act. According to this act, the law requires that consumers' credit information is accurate, protected, and used fairly.
Your credit information is used by lenders, potential employers, prospective landlords, insurance underwriters, and other entities. Therefore, it is necessary to protect it.
Anyone with access to your credit information should adhere to the requirements of FCRA. Under these requirements, credit bureaus/agencies must:
As a consumer, you can expect anyone accessing your information to use it according to FCRA regulations. This is your right under the FCRA.
As you already know, your credit report affects so many aspects of your life: if and how much you can borrow, access to credit cards and loans with the best terms, whether or not you can rent an apartment, and so on.
The FCRA requires credit bureau records to be flawless because they impact consumers' lives. However, a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study revealed that 5% of consumers had errors in their credit reports. Sometimes there's a debt you don't recognize, a missing repayment, inconsistent repayment plans, etc.
If you notice any inaccuracies, file a dispute with the bureau. The credit bureau should then investigate and delete any inaccurate information from your files. Be sure to check with each of the three major bureaus as they operate independently.
You may also use Solosuit's Debt Validation Letter to validate every debt in your name with the individual lenders and creditors.
Credit bureaus should also remove outdated negative information from your report. For example, whether paid or unpaid, credit card debt should remain on your report for a maximum of seven years from the date you first missed a payment.
To check for accuracy, you need access to your credit report.
A credit report contains a consumer's past and present debts and repayment history. Knowing what's in your credit report is vital because it impacts your borrowing ability, ability to rent an apartment, or even chances of being hired by certain employers.
According to FCRA, you have a right to 1 free "file disclosure" every 12 months from all three major bureaus; Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
Get your free report here.
All credit bureaus use your credit report to calculate your credit score. The credit score indicates how likely you are to pay loans and credit card debts on time. The three nationwide credit bureaus are required to provide you with your credit score upon request.
Each bureau calculates the score using different methods, so it's wise to obtain all three for comparison. You may need to pay for a credit score, but no bureau can deny you access to your score.
Knowing your credit score helps you prepare before applying for a personal loan, a credit card, or any situation where anyone may use the information to qualify or deny you services.
Not everyone has the right to view your information. Only a few people or companies with "permissible access" may see your report. It's the mandate of credit bureaus to limit access to your credit information.
People with "permissible access" include:
Although they have "permissible access," some situations require that you grant permission before someone can gain access to your report. For example, a potential employer cannot access your credit report without your written authorization.
Some credit card and insurance companies use your information to suggest products based on your credit report. Credit bureaus usually share your information with these companies to personalize which offers you see based on geographical locations or credit score range.
If you don't want to receive these unsolicited offers, you may ask the three major credit bureaus to stop sharing your information for marketing purposes. Once you make that request, you should stop receiving those pre-screened offers.
Call (888)-5-OPT OUT (888-567-8688) or submit a request at www.optoutprescreen.com to remove yourself from these marketing lists.
If a potential employer or creditor uses data in your report to deny your application for a loan or a job, they should tell you which information they used.
The lender should also give you the name, address, and phone number of the major credit bureau from which they got that information.
Protecting the information in credit bureau files is important. Thankfully, FCRA is there to help. You're entitled to accuracy, fairness, and privacy. Always take advantage of the law to protect yourself.
If you have any questions about debt, contact SoloSuit for assistance.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance
Here's a list of guides for other states.
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