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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

  • CFPB Targets Auto Lender for False Credit Reports

    An estimated one out of every five Americans has a mistake on one of their credit reports, which have sadly become an all-too-frequent occurrence for consumers. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is working to change that: it’s rebuking an auto lender for reporting faulty information to the credit bureaus for years. On Wednesday, the Continue Reading

  • Victory for Consumers! FICO Agrees to Ignore Paid Medical Debt in New Credit Score

    Finally, good news for consumers who have seen their credit scores plummet after an unexpected health crisis! The Fair Isaac Company (FICO) will not use any paid or settled debt in collections when calculating its new credit score model. And it will weigh unpaid medical debt in collections less in these scores than other types of debt that have gone Continue Reading

  • Let the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Continue To Do Its Job

    (Cross-posted from Consumer Reports Online in an article by Stephen Saltzman) On July 21, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will mark its fourth anniversary. The consumer financial watchdog, created by Congress in the wake of the financial crisis caused by shady mortgage lenders and Wall Street abuses, has done a lot for consumers in just Continue Reading

  • CFPB: Fixing Consumers’ Toughest Credit Reporting Issues

    When you find an incorrect item on your credit report, it’s not always easy to get it fixed. Fortunately, consumers have an advocate working hard on their side. For the past three years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been there to help consumers resolve their problems with financial services providers – from credit Continue Reading

  • FICO Expands its Free Credit Score Program to More Consumers

    Looks like consumer demand for more access to free credit scores is catching on: last month, Sallie Mae announced that it was joining FICO’s Open Access program, meaning that it will provide a free credit score each quarter to borrowers who take out “Smart Option” private student loans in the 2014-15 school year. According to Continue Reading

  • Mississippi’s Suit Against Experian Draws Attention to the Credit Bureau’s Policies

    Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s lawsuit against top consumer reporting agency (“CRA” or “credit bureau”) Experian, which we reported on last week, is continuing to make waves. As a New York Times article posted over the weekend points out, the lawsuit alleges that Experian consistently provided incorrect information on credit reports and often failed to Continue Reading

  • Mississippi Sues Credit Bureau Experian over Extensive Lapses

    The credit bureau Experian is under fire for its credit reporting mistakes that harm consumers’ abilities to obtain credit and employment. The state of Mississippi has sued Experian because of repeated, serious credit reporting errors that can be very difficult to fix. In addition to pointing out concerns over the ways in which Experian puts Continue Reading

  • Wall Street’s Latest Wishlist For Congress Would Make Even the Pharmaceutical Industry Blush

    Do you know what stands between the American people and another financial crisis? Two things. The first is a little but scrappy federal agency that just happens to be the most important institution to emerge out of the crisis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). And the second is defeating the the Wall Street Wishlist. Continue Reading

  • CFPB Calls Out Credit Bureaus and Debt Collectors for Abusive Practices

    Have the credit bureaus and debt collectors been meeting their legal responsibilities to treat consumers fairly? We’ve long argued that credit bureaus and debt collectors need to be held more accountable for breaking the law and harming consumers. Luckily, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been taking a closer look. In the CFPB’s latest Continue Reading

  • New CFPB Paper Highlights Unfair Reporting of Medical Debt

    Do you think that your medical bills are calculated fairly in your credit score? New research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests that they’re not. The CFPB’s new report reveals that the way medical debt is currently calculated in credit scores does not accurately represent consumers’ creditworthiness. Medical debt has become a significant 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.