The FCRA – Valuable Facts Regarding Your Credit Report

More than 40 years ago, in October 1970, Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This law was established due to concerns about the growing misuse of consumer credit history. At the time, a national credit reporting system had just been created.

In developing this law, legislators intended to provide consumers with the right to have accurate, truthful information reported about them in the national credit reporting system.

What is the FCRA and What Was It Intended to Do?

The FCRA is just as helpful today as it was when it was first implemented. It is a powerful consumer protection law that safeguards your personal, private information.

Under the FCRA, credit reporting agencies, creditors and others who use the national consumer crediting reporting system are required to follow a strict set of guidelines about how the information in consumer reports is reported and used.

Here are some of the protections that the FCRA offers consumers the right to:

  • Keep information in consumer credit reports private.
  • Know exactly what is reported on your credit history report.
  • Dispute incorrect or untruthful information.
  • Have disputes investigated.
  • Have inaccurate information removed from their credit report.
  • Know if you were passed over for credit or a job because of information in your report.
  • Place an alert on your credit report if you believe that your information has been compromised by fraud.

If Transunion, Equifax or another credit reporting agency violates any of the above rights, then you have the right to sue, which allows you to recover several different types of compensation, including actual damages and attorney’s costs and fees.

What Does the FCRA Stand For?

The FCRA stands for Fair Credit Reporting Act, and it was established in 1970 by Congress as a response to the growing use and misuse of private information by businesses.

The FCRA regulates what information a credit reporting agency is allowed to report about you. It also provides for the privacy and accuracy of credit and personal information found in your consumer credit report.

Under this law, consumer credit reporting agencies must report accurate information in credit reports. They also must investigate disputed information in your report and remove it if it is not truthful.

Additionally, companies and individuals may not view information in your credit history unless they have a permissible purpose, such as to evaluate your suitability for employment.

The Act allows you to hold companies and individuals liable that violate your rights to fair, accurate credit reporting information.

Who Enforces the FCRA?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that protects information in your consumer credit report. The law provides you with the right to have fair and accurate information reported. It also protects the privacy of your credit report.

The FCRA is enforced by several different agencies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is mainly responsible for interpreting and carrying out the law. In 2010, sweeping changes were made to the FCRA under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. This code shifted the responsibility for enforcing the FCRA to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Starting in 2011, the CFPB has increasingly taken over the responsibility for enforcing the FCRA at the federal level.

What is the Statute of Limitations for the FCRA?

Do you have errors on your credit report? If so, then you are not alone. According to CBS 60 Minutes, as many as 40 million people have incorrect information in their credit report. Common credit report errors include similar names being mixed up, false social security numbers or negative data being assigned to the wrong person. The TV show also found that it is sometimes hard to get the mistakes removed.

Many people don’t realize that there is a law that protects consumers from inaccurate and abusive credit reporting. The legislation is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. It was initially passed in 1970 and has been updated several times since then. The FCRA provides you with the right to access your credit report. It allows you to dispute information in your report and compels credit reporting agencies to investigate disputes and remove incorrect information. The FCRA also prohibits people and businesses from accessing your credit report unless they have a permissible purpose.

If your rights are violated under the FCRA, there are actions that you can take to get compensation for any damages that you might have suffered from the violation. However, you only have a limited amount of time to recover damages. The time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing an FCRA complaint is within two years from the time that you discover the violation or five years from the date of the offense, whichever comes sooner.

What is Considered a Fair Credit Score?

If you are considering applying for a loan, you might be wondering what is supposed to be a fair credit score. There are several different credit scoring models, and each has their own score range. The two major credit scoring models are:

  • FICO – This is the most popular model. The scores range from 300 to 850.
  • Vantage Score 3.0 – This is the latest Vantage Score model. It ranges from 300-850.

A credit score of below 600 is considered to be poor. Credit scores of 650-750 are good. Anything above 750 is regarded as an excellent credit score. People with excellent credit qualify for the best rates on loans, insurance and more.

If your credit score is severe, you have cause to be worried. A bad credit score indicates that you are a risk, which means that lenders might not be willing to loan you money or may charge extremely high-interest rates. You’ll likely pay more for insurance and might even lose job opportunities. One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your credit is to review your credit reports frequently and dispute incorrect information.

Disputing Errors in Your Credit Report

Under the FCRA, you have the right to know what is on your credit report. You also have the right to dispute information that is not correct. Although you cannot dispute your credit score, you can dispute the information in your report to get them fixed.

Additionally, the credit reporting agencies must investigate disputes and are obligated to remove incorrect information under federal law. If negative information is removed, then it might result in positive changes in your report and could improve your credit score.

If you have attempted to dispute incorrect information on your credit report and you don’t believe that the complaint is being handled correctly, you should consult with an FCRA attorney for a resolution. You are entitled to seek damages from credit reporting agencies that do not process information in your report correctly.

The FCRA – Valuable Facts Regarding Your Credit Report
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