FCRA Requirements

FCRA requirements are related to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is the primary law regulating how consumer reporting agencies are able to use the personal information of consumers. The FCRA is a federal law first enacted in the 1970s. The current version of the FCRA was passed in 2003.

FCRA Summary Rights

Under the FCRA, consumer reporting agencies are required to provide consumers with the information in their own file upon request, and consumer reporting agencies are not allowed to share information with third parties unless there is a permissible purpose.

There are several permissible purposes outlined by the FCRA. These include disclosure of information to help a lender qualify a consumer for a loan or other credit service, disclosure to employers or potential employers, and when disclosure is legally required. But a consumer reporting agency cannot give your personal information to a potential or current employer unless you first give consent.

Consumers have a right to access their credit report information for free once per year. Further disclosures cost less than $10. Consumers have a right under the FCRA to challenge information in their file that they believe is incorrect. Consumer reporting agencies are required to investigate claims that there is inaccurate information, and when information is proven to be inaccurate, agencies must correct the mistake. When fraud or identity theft has occurred, consumer reporting agencies must take steps to rectify the situation and ensure that information is accurate.

Consumer reporting agencies often provide consumer names and addresses to marketers. Under the FCRA, consumers can opt-out of this information sharing and have their names removed from these marketing lists. Consumers can opt-out by calling 1-888-5-OPT OUT.

Consumer Rights Under the FCRA

When information has been used against a consumer, such as being used as a basis to deny employment or loan acceptance, the consumer must be notified. The party using the information against the consumer must tell the consumer which agency gave them the information.

As mentioned, a consumer has a right to obtain all of the information in their own file. Consumers have a right to contest inaccurate information. Consumers also have a right to contest their credit score. When information is shown to be inaccurate, consumer reporting agencies generally only have 30 days to correct or delete the inaccuracies.

The FCRA provides basic consumer rights in the United States; however each individual state also has certain consumer protection laws. In some of these states, such as in California, these laws expand upon the FCRA and provide significant additional protections.

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