A Complete Guide to Your Rights under FCRA

Many consumers may find that their credit reports don’t reflect accurate information about their credit history.  Occassionaly, there are instances where credit bureaus mixed up one consumer’s name with another and included incorrect credit history. It might take several years to remove the inaccurate information and, by that time, consumers may have already incurred a significant financial loss.

Like the consumers mentioned above, you might have faced a similar situation. In order to protect American consumers from inaccurate credit reporting, the U.S. Federal Government has designed and implemented the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that mandates the credit reporting agencies to rectify their mistakes within a specific time period.

Introduction of FCRA

This Act was enacted in October of 1970, when there was an increase in demand for consumer credit. The law was introduced for the  purpose of making the national credit reporting system more accountable and transparent to citizens.  It was subsequently amended in the late 1990’s and then again in 2003 and 2004 so that consumers are now entitled to a free annual credit report  from the three major credit bureaus.

Here is a guide to the rights that you are entitled to under FCRA:
Right to Know
According to the Act, credit reporting agencies need to provide you free access to the relevant financial information. You will get the benefits of free file disclosure under the following circumstances:

  • You are a victim of identity theft
  • Your credit report contains inaccurate information
  • You are planning to apply for an employment within the next 60 days.

As previously mentioned, you are also entitled to get a free copy of your credit reports from the three major bureaus.
Right to Dispute Inaccurate Information
If you find that your credit report contains any inaccurate or incomplete information, you can report it to the relevant consumer reporting agencies. The agencies will look into the matter and report back in specific time period.
FCRA ensures that there is privacy, fairness and accuracy of the information present in the documents of the consumers. If you are worried about any discrepancy related to your credit report, then the FCRA has made a provision for the case.