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.
- 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
- CU backs bills providing free credit scores
The bills introduced in Congress will require credit scores to be included in your free, annual credit reports
- FTC study shows importance of checking credit reports
The findings reinforce call for access to free, reliable credit score
- CFPB: Check your credit report every year
CU offers credit report resources and calls for free annual credit scores for consumers
- CFPB Announces New Oversight for Big Credit Reporting Companies
In the fall, The CFPB will take a closer look to ensure accuracy and compliance with the law
- CFPB Seeks Oversight of Debt Collectors, Credit Bureaus
The CFPB announced plans to bring oversight to debt collectors & credit bureaus under its roof
- Consumers Union: Get your free credit report
New web page helps consumers get free credit reports, avoid imposter sites
- CU says Social Security numbers need protection
Widespread use and availability of Social Security numbers puts Americans at risk of ID theft
- TransUnion offering security freeze nationwide
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 TransUnion to Offer Powerful Identity Theft Tool to Consumers in All 50 States Consumer groups call on Experian and Equifax to meet or exceed TransUnion‘s plan. SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Starting on October 15, TransUnion will begin offering consumers in all 50 states the ability to freeze access to their credit Continue Reading
- CU supports Oregon Measure 42 to ban credit scoring in insurance
Insurance scores are unfair and often based on inaccurate information
- Insurers using credit scores to set auto and homeowners rates
Consumers Reports finds many drivers could be paying hundreds more for coverage.
- 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
- Furloughed Federal Workers: Worried About Your Mortgage?
You are not alone. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have called on lenders to give you a break while you are furloughed during the government shutdown. They are asking for lenders to temporarily postpone mortgage payments for furloughed government employees and contractors, according to a story recently reported in the Continue Reading
- New Survey Points to Gaps in Knowledge about Credit Scores
Having a good credit score is more important than ever for consumers. Credit scores are used by many lenders when deciding whether to offer a mortgage, auto, credit card, or any other type of loan. Apartment rental companies and, in some states, insurance companies, will check credit scores as well. Still, a new survey, conducted Continue Reading
- Help Protect Consumers from Credit Reporting Industry Abuses
It’s likely that many of our readers have tried to obtain a “free” credit score from one of the ubiquitous websites that market them, but discovered later that they inadvertently signed up for a credit monitoring service that automatically bills their credit or debit card each month. One soldier currently serving in Afghanistan recently fell Continue Reading
- Cordray Confirmation Needed to Improve Credit Reporting
Credit report errors have long plagued consumers, many of whom diligently work to establish a solid credit history, only to find their efforts derailed due to mistakes made by creditors or the credit reporting agencies (CRAs). These lapses have the potential to be truly damaging as more and more companies — from auto, mortgage, and Continue Reading
- Getting the Right Credit Score Isn’t Easy
Consumers Union’s “Know Your Score” campaign is working to pass legislation in Congress that gives consumers free access each year to their credit score. As part of our campaign, we’ve been collecting stories from consumers about their credit score experiences. The response has been overwhelming. We’ve learned that many consumers are frustrated to find that Continue Reading
- Credit Scores and Credit Reports: How do They Differ?
Consumers Union is conducting a “Know Your Score” campaign in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s and Rep. Steve Cohen’s proposed Fair Access to Credit Scores Act, which was introduced in Congress earlier this month. This bill directs the three major consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, to provide consumers with the credit score Continue Reading
- 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.