What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates how
consumer reporting agencies use your information. Enacted in 1970 and
substantially amended in the late 1990s and again in 2003, the FCRA, among
other things,restricts who has access to your sensitive credit information
and how that information can be used.
Summary of Rights
The FCRA is a complex piece of legislation and contains numerous provisions
not discussed on this page. Below are several important features of how
the FCRA is designed to help consumers (for the complete text, visit the
Federal Trade Commission). The FCRA protects you by requiring consumer
Disclose your credit file to you upon request. Consumer reporting agencies
must provide you the information in your file if you request it and provide
the agency with proper identification. See "How do I get a free report?
" for more information.
Limit access to your information. A consumer reporting agency may not provide
your credit report to any party that lacks a permissible purpose, such
as the evaluation of an application for a loan, credit, service, or employment.
Permissible purposes also include several business and legal uses. See
"Who can access my Equifax credit file?" for more information.
Get your consent before providing your information to an employer. A consumer
reporting agency may not provide your credit information to an employer
or potential employer unless you first give that employer written permission
to request your credit report.
Investigate disputed information. If you tell a consumer reporting agency
that your file contains inaccurate information, the agency must promptly
investigate the matter with the source that provided the information.
If the investigation fails to resolve the dispute, you may add a statement
to your credit file explaining the matter. For more information, see Correcting
Errors in Your Report.
Correct or delete inaccurate information. A consumer reporting agency must
correct or, as the case may be, delete from your credit file the information
that is found to be inaccurate or can no longer be verified. The consumer
reporting agency is not required to remove accurate data from your file
unless it is outdated.
Delete outdated information. In general, negative information that is more
than 7 years old (10 years for bankruptcies) must be removed from your file.
Remove your name from marketing lists upon request. Consumer reporting
agencies can provide lists of consumer names and addresses whose credit
information matches the requirements of creditors and insurers for making
firm offers of credit or insurance to the consumers on the list. However,
you can request that the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies
not share your information with creditors and insurers for these purposes
by calling 1-888-5-OPT OUT.
Disclose your credit score to you upon request. You have the right to request
a credit score about you.
Add identity theft and active duty alerts. Identity theft victims may place
fraud alerts and active duty military personnel serving away from their
regular duty station may place "active duty" alerts to help
prevent identity theft.
Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft. If you are, or believe that you
are, the victim of identity theft, you have specific rights under the
FCRA. These rights will help you deal with the effects of identity theft.
This article was originally published on Equifax.com