The Fair Credit Reporting Act and You
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is an American federal law (codified at 15 U.S.C. Section 1681) that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer credit information. Along with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it forms the base of consumer credit rights in the United States. It was originally passed in 1970 and is enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission.
Credit and Your Consumer Rights
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the credit laws that protect your right to get, use and maintain credit. These laws do not guarantee that everyone will receive credit. Instead, the credit laws protect your rights by requiring businesses to give all consumers a fair and equal opportunity to get credit and to resolve disputes over credit errors.
Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
You must be told if the information in your file has been used against you.
You have the right to know what is in your file.
You have the right to ask for a credit score.
You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information.
Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information.
Access to your file is limited to only those with a “valid” need.
You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.
You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information on your credit report.
You may seek damages from violators.
Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights.
States may enforce FCRA, and many states have their own consumer reporting laws. In some cases, you may have more rights under state law. For more information, contact your state or local consumer protection agency or your state Attorney General.
Federal enforcement agencies include:
Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Response Center – 1-877-382-4357
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Compliance Management – 800-613-6743
Federal Reserve Board – Division of Consumer & Community Affairs – 202-452-3693
Office of Thrift Supervisions Consumer Complaints – 800-842-6929
National Credit Union Administration – 703-519-4600
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – 877-275-3342
Department of Transportation, Office of Financial Management – 202-366-1306
Department of Agriculture – Office of Deputy Administrator – 202-720-7051