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Your credit and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Your credit payment history is recorded in a file or report. These files or reports are maintained and sold by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs).

One type of CRA is commonly known as a credit bureau. You have a credit record on file at a credit bureau if you have ever applied for a credit or charge account, a personal loan, insurance, or a job.

Your credit record contains information about your income, debts, and credit payment history. It also indicates whether you have been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to help ensure that CRAs furnish correct and complete information to businesses that will use your credit report when evaluating your application for a loan or a line of credit.

Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

  • you have the right to receive a copy of your credit report. The copy of your report must contain all of the information in your file at the time of your request.
  • you have the right to know the name of anyone who received your credit report in the last year for most purposes and in the last two years for employment purposes. Any company that denies your application must supply the name and address of the CRA they contacted, provided the denial was based on information given by the CRA.
  • you have the right to a free copy of your credit report when your application is denied because of information supplied by the CRA. Your request must be made within 60 days of receiving your denial notice.
  • if you contest the completeness or accuracy of information in your report, you should file a dispute with the CRA and with the company that provided the information to the CRA. Both the CRA and the provider of information are obligated by law to investigate your dispute.

You have a right to add a summary explanation to your credit report if the dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction.

This information is adapted from "Bound for Good Credit" published by the Federal Trade Commission. To learn more, read Facts for Consumers on the Federal Trade Commission web site.

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