When you borrow money from a bank or credit agency, you are protected by a series of rules and regulations. Credit reporting agencies are bound by federal law—known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This Act helps ensure that the information used by these agencies is fair and accurate. More specifically, the FCRA looks at how your information is being utilized by the agencies to prevent your private data (including your credit history and contact information) from falling into the wrong hands. Learn more about the Fair Credit Reporting Act below.
The History of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act, Public Law No. 91-508, was written and made into a law in 1970, although it has been amended twice since then. The FCRA is concerned with three factors related to your personal information: confidentiality, accuracy, and relevance. Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) are expected to use “reasonable procedures” to protect your private data.
During the 1960s, many CRAs came under fire for the way their reports were being used. Borrowers claimed they were being denied certain services and opportunities, and there was no transparency around what information was kept on file. Further investigation identified significant abuse-of-power within the industry. CRAs were found to be falsifying negative or incomplete information or collecting information related to the borrower’s “lifestyle” that was irrelevant to their debt. As a result, the Fair Credit Reporting Act was born.
What Are My Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
As a borrower, the Fair Credit Reporting Act provides you with a variety of rights and protections, including:
- Accurate Reporting. If there is inaccurate information in your file, the CRA is required to examine, verify, and remove it if necessary. If you are unable to fully remove the inaccurate information, you have the right to add clarification.
- Access to Your Report. You deserve to know what information has been kept on file. The FCRA gives you access to a free copy of your credit report upon request, once per year. Note that you must have proper identification in order to request your report.
- Protected Access. Not everyone has access to your report! The FCRA limits those who can access your information to organizations with a valid need, such as insurance companies, banks, employers, or landlords.
- Remove Outdated Information. A criminal record may stay on your report indefinitely, but other negative information—such as bankruptcy—must be removed after a period of time.
- Having Account Numbers Hidden. Ever notice how your credit card number is mostly blocked out on a receipt? You’ve got the Fair Credit Report Act to thank for that!
- Understand When Your Credit Report is Hurting You. You deserve to know if your credit report is the reason you were denied credit, employment, or insurance.
Want to learn more about your rights as a borrower? Looking for ways to improve your credit? Briteside Solutions is here for you! Visit our website to check out our programs and services or call (888) 851-0646 to get started today.