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To obtain a copy of your credit report, a financial institution or other party must have permissible permission. This keeps just anyone from taking a look at what is in your report. It also helps to prevent identity theft. When applying for any type of credit, carefully review any request for your credit history. Make sure that it clearly identifies who has permission to review your credit report. Also, make sure there is an end date to keep someone from pulling your credit more often than required. Often a financial institution will notify you that the terms of them granting you credit includes the ability to pull your credit report as needed. This is normal and the type of report they pull for this purpose just gives them the opportunity to keep an eye on your overall credit picture.
A credit report federal law was implemented in the 1970s to protect your rights as a consumer. The update provided in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 further strengthens that original act. The one disadvantage is that it keeps states from enacting stronger legislation. The c redit report law has its limits, like only providing one free credit report each year. On the other hand, it has provided many advantages and given consumers better access to information that is being used to determine if they qualify for credit.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, anytime you want to review your credit report, the credit bureaus are required to provide it for you. This does not; however, mean that they have to do it for free. Depending on your state's law, each credit bureau is only required to provide a set number of free credit reports to you each year. The states that have made free credit reports available to consumers (in addition to the Federal law) are: Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont. You can get free credit reports if you are denied credit based on the information supplied in the credit report; you are the victim of identity theft; you are on public assistance or you are unemployed and looking for employment in the next 60 days. While you may be entitled to a free credit report, this does not mean that the credit bureau is required to supply you with a free credit score. These are two separate things and you credit score will cost you an additional amount.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you, as a consumer, have several rights regarding your credit reporting history. These all protect you from having inaccurate information used against you in a credit decision. Your credit report rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act include:
1. receiving a copy of your credit report;
2. knowing who inquired about your credit history in the last year or two;
3. information on the credit reporting agency used to provide your credit history to a financial institution that subsequently denied your request for credit;
4. a free copy of your credit report if you have been denied credit;
5. ability to dispute any item on your credit report which then must be investigated within 30 days;
6. removal of inaccurate information within 30 days;
7. add a statement of explanation to your credit report regarding information you feel is inaccurate;
8. ability to restrict access to the information available in your credit report and remove your name from lists sold to telemarketers; and,
9. ability to sue someone who accesses your credit report without permissible purpose.
By law, every consumer is entitled to receive a copy of their credit report (from each of the three major credit reporting agencies) once per year. To request your copy, each of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) will provide you with an opportunity to review and print your report before moving on to the next one. Some will allow you to create a user name and password so you can come back later (within about 30 days) to review it again. Often during this process the credit bureaus will try to upsell you. They may recommend you pay an additional fee to also view your credit score online. Remember, you are not required to buy anything. This is a free service that you are guaranteed.
The first time you review your credit history, you may be confused by the credit report code that is used. Some things may appear to be self-explanatory, but others may require a little know-how on your part. Each of the three major credit reporting agencies provide sample credit reports with explanations for you to review and examine before requesting your own free credit report. Take some time to review the sample to better understand your own credit report. The law gives you many rights, including the ability to receive a free credit report annually, but it won't do you any good if you don't understand what it all means. When you can interpret the report, it makes it easier to find errors that you may need to get fixed.
In the early 1970s, consumer advocates won a major victory with the introduction of a consumer credit reporting act. This was further enhanced in 2003 with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA). This provides additional protection for consumers against the rising problem of identity theft. Thanks to this act, consumers can get a free copy of their credit report annually, as well as anytime they suspect they are the victim of fraud. In addition, when fraud is suspected, the consumer has a right to request a copy of the original credit application submitted. In order to request this type of information, the request must be in writing and you need to include all pertinent information related to the potential crime.
Ever wonder what the Fair Credit Reporting Act is? To protect consumers, the federal government enacted legislation in the early 1970s to monitor how information about your credit history is being shared with others. The idea behind the act is that a credit reporting agency must supply accurate information regarding your credit history. As part of this, it provides for the ability of a consumer to make changes or request corrections to the credit report.
Credit reporting laws only cover your consumer credit history. There are many other types of consumer reports that may or may not be included under these laws. For example, these same credit reporting laws say that you are entitled to a free copy of your insurance claim history. Known as C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) this information is used in the insurance industry and provides a history of any insurance claims you have filed in the past five years. To go along with this, you can request a copy of your insurance score. While this isn't free, it may help you negotiate for a lower insurance rate