Ever wonder exactly what a credit report is? Wondering if you have the right to know whatís in your credit report?
Weíve had those same thoughts ourselves! So we turned to the Federal Citizen Information Center to find out more about the law that helps protect you --- the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
We know: Your Credit Report Rights
Whatís a Credit Report?
Consumer reporting agencies (generally called credit bureaus) gather information about you and sell it to creditors, employers, insurers and businesses. These reports include information about where you work and where you live, your bills, your criminal history and whether youíve ever been sued or filed for bankruptcy.
When you go to apply for a credit card, a mortgage, insurance or fill out an application for a job, someone is likely to check one of these credit reports.
Three of the major credit bureaus in the U.S. are called Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
What are my credit report rights?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the following rights, among others:
Who has the right to ask to see my credit report?
How long can negative information remain on my report?
If someone denies me a credit, a job or insurance because of a credit report, can I demand to know the name of the credit reporting agency or credit bureau from them?
How much does it cost me to check my credit report when Iím not entitled to a free one?
The fee may vary from state to state; Some states allow you to obtain your report periodically at no cost, others allow you to obtain it for a fee from about $9 - $14. You can also order your credit report and credit score (if desired) from all three agencies at once, either through a third party or from the agencies themselves. This can cost close to $50 depending on the package you get.
How often should I check my credit report/score?
Itís recommended that you check it once a year for incorrect or arbitrary information. Pick a month (like this month) and order your report during the same month of each year.