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Credit Reports

Consumers living throughout the U.S. now have the right to order a free copy of their credit report thanks to a federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), adopted by Congress in 2003. Because credit reports are free, consumers have better access to this important document and can take steps to make sure it offers a fair picture of their credit history.

Your credit is one of your most important assets. Having good credit means you should have more options to borrow money at the lowest cost and from the best lenders. It also means that others who look at your credit — such as landlords, insurance companies, or even prospective employers — are less likely to turn you away or penalize you because you have poor credit.

Take the first step to find out where you stand in the credit world. Get a copy of your consumer credit report and credit score.

Your consumer credit report should contain accurate and up-to-date information about your credit history and behavior. Having your consumer credit report and credit score in hand lets you see what your creditors or those who base decisions on your credit will see. If you discover mistakes, you can have them corrected. Reviewing your consumer credit report can also alert you if someone has stolen your identity.

Be sure to get a free copy of your consumer credit report to stay up to date with your credit profile and to protect yourself from identity theft.

The information on this site is provided as a guide and is not meant to be legal advice. Be sure to consult an attorney for legal advice.

Publications

  • Free Credit Score Fact Sheet

    Know Your Score Fact Sheet Consumers Union is fighting to give consumers access to an annual free, reliable credit score when a free credit report is obtained. Your credit score can determine your eligibility for credit cards, home, car and student loans, and apartment rentals. It can mean the difference between a high interest rate Continue Reading

  • How to Get Your Free Credit Report

    Every consumer in the U.S. has the right to a free credit report. The law says you can request a free report once every 12 months from each of the three national credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. However, there are a lot of web sites out there that offer you a free Continue Reading

  • Credit Scores: Issues In a Changing Environment

    This is a PowerPoint presentation given by Gail Hillebrand for a workshop titled “The Growing Influence of Credit Scores” at the Consumer Assembly 2010.

  • New Rip-offs

    Have you been ripped off by unfair lending or financial practices?

  • Consumer group letter to prevent deceptive marketing of free credit reports

    Comments of the National Consumer Law Center (On behalf of its Low-Income Clients) Consumer Action Consumers Union Consumer Federation of America National Association of Consumer Advocates National Community Reinvestment Coalition Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law U.S. Public Interest Research Group Regarding Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Free Annual File Disclosures, Rule No. R411005 Amendments Continue Reading

  • Consumers Union supports reform to remove paid medical debts from credit

    CU supports the Medical Debt Relief Act of 2009, H.R. 3421

  • Credit Reports and Scoring
  • Credit and Your Consumer Rights
  • California: Credit Repair Services
  • What is Credit Monitoring?

    What is Credit Monitoring? Consumer credit reporting agencies offer to “monitor” your credit for a fee. Credit monitoring services can be costly. These services cost anywhere between $43.80 per year to nearly $150.00 per year depending upon the provider. Typically, these services say they will notify you if anything unusual or suspicious appears on your Continue Reading

Press Releases

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Blog Posts

  • Credit Report Errors Can Make Getting Credit Difficult and Can Be Hard to Fix

    It can be a challenge for a consumer to maintain a good credit history. Unfortunately, sometimes lenders can make it even more difficult by reporting incorrect information to credit bureaus that can damage a consumer’s credit record. Credit report mistakes can have a big impact on consumers. Our recent policy brief, Errors and Gotchas: How Continue Reading

  • SECURE Act aims to help protect consumers from credit score gotchas

    These days, lenders and others rely heavily on credit scores to make a quick assessment of a consumer’s creditworthiness. But, vulnerable consumers can find themselves tricked into paying more than they had planned, just to find out their own credit scores. In our new policy brief, “Errors and Gotchas: How Credit Report Errors and Unreliable Continue Reading

  • CU Policy Brief Shines a Light on Credit Report Errors and Unreliable Credit Scores

    Now more than ever, consumers need credit reports that are fair and accurate, and deserve easy access to the same credit scores lenders use to make decisions about them. That’s because credit report mistakes can make it harder to get a fair rate on a loan or auto insurance or even prevent someone from getting Continue Reading

  • Why The CFPB Is The Best Thing To Happen To Americans Since J.Law

    Jennifer Lawrence is pretty awesome, right? For several years now she’s excelled at playing characters that excite the American imagination- they’re young, vibrant, and struggle against difficult odds or crafty opponents.  The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is also young, rather vibrant, and also goes to battle with powerful forces but, despite all this, the Continue Reading

  • Transaction Monitoring and Credit Monitoring in Light of the Target Breach

    Target has begun to offer security breach victims free credit monitoring for a year now that approximately 110 million Americans may have had their data compromised due to a security breach. We’ve advised consumers to conduct regular transaction monitoring to prevent fraud, and now some consumers have been asking us, “What’s the difference between transaction Continue Reading

  • Off Target: What to Do If Your Information Is in Peril

    by guest blogger Caitlin Watkins Are you one of the 40 million Americans who had their debit or credit information stolen in the recent Target security breach?  If you shopped at any Target store from November 27 to December 15th and used a credit or debit card, you are mostly likely very concerned about your Continue Reading

  • Evade Credit Repair Scams

    In recent years, we’ve alerted consumers to credit repair companies that prey on consumers who may be looking to improve their creditworthiness or are confused about the nature of the credit-scoring system. Credit repair agencies often promise a higher credit score in a short amount of time – and may even use deceptive means to Continue Reading

  • Are You Who You Say You Are? Verifying Identity in the Federal Marketplace

    Are the standards to confirm your identity to apply for health insurance through the Federal Marketplace too strict? The online Federal Marketplace, HealthCare.gov, has been directing applicants to confirm their identity through a website run by Experian, the largest credit reporting agency. However, at least one consumer reported to us that she attempted to sign Continue Reading

  • Former FDIC Official Sheila Bair Discovers How a Small Credit Reporting Error Can Have a Big Impact

    An inaccurate credit score can be costly. Former FDIC head Sheila Bair recently shared a credit-reporting problem she experienced on CNN Money, and her story shows how a small mistake can result in real damage to credit scores. Bair explains that last year, after writing a check to cover a store credit card bill, the Continue Reading

  • ID Theft Alert! Alleged Fraudster Caught Selling Consumer Data Online

    If you think that monitoring your credit report for fraud isn’t all that important…well…think again. According to a new federal lawsuit just made public last week,  a fraudster-friendly website has been reselling consumer data to enable ID theft.  The  website, called Superget.info,  marketed the ability to look up full Social Security numbers, birthdays, drivers license records Continue Reading

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News Articles

  • Montanans locking credit reports
    Source: Helena Independent Record (Tuesday November 6, 2007)

    More and more consumers are taking advantage of security freeze protection

  • Montana bill to deter identity theft advances
    Source: Billings Gazette (Thursday January 26, 2006)

    A bill giving Montanans the right to freeze access to their credit reports to block criminals from stealing their identity will go before the state Senate.

  • ID theft law to take effect in Vermont
    Source: Times Argus (Sunday July 10, 2005)

    Vermonters who become the victims of identity theft can stop the financial bleeding by putting a freeze on their credit reports, under a new state law.