Category: Info for consumers

You have the right to request your consumer reports

graphic of screen and document with consumer reports titles

Like many consumers, you may be aware that a credit report provides you with a useful summary of your credit history. What you may not be aware of is where and how to actually request your credit report, and what your rights are with your consumer reports.

Every year, we update and publish a list of consumer reporting companies. Today, we present you with the 2016 edition of our list, which includes the following features:

  • Information to request a report. This includes the latest company name and contact information from the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies and dozens of specialty reporting companies. We sort the companies by specialty (e.g., employment, tenant, bank, subprime, insurance, medical).
  • New tips on which specialty reports might be important for you to fact-check depending on your specific situation. Did you know that outside of employment screening, consumer report users provide you with a notification about the reasons why the report user is taking adverse action only after the fact when, for example, you have already been rejected for a loan or residential rental property?
  • New information about how consumer reporting companies make sure you are who you say you are before they will give you your reports, and the types of questions they might ask to authenticate your identity.
  • Companies that will provide free scores along with free reports. Not many do, but there are a few.

Did you know?

  • You should fact-check your credit reports for free from the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies every twelve months.
  • You should fact-check your specialty consumer reports during important life events and situations, such as when applying for a job, rental home, or at other times like when applying for a new bank account or insurance policy.
  • In prior years, this list has referred to consumer reporting businesses as “agencies” or “bureaus.” These terms can be confusing because they make it sound as if these businesses might be part of the government. But they are not. They are private-sector companies which are overwhelmingly for-profit. In our list, we call them “companies” for greater clarity.

Your Rights with your Consumer Reports

Finally, when it comes to your own consumer reports, you have the legal right to:

  • obtain the information in your consumer reports, and
  • dispute inaccuracies with the consumer reporting companies and those who gave them the information.

A few years ago, we published a CFPB bulletin that highlighted the legal requirement that certain consumer reporting companies must establish and manage “a streamlined process for consumers to request consumer reports.” Our single, user-friendly list of companies makes it easier for you to make the first move.

Due to technical issues, the commenting feature of our blog is temporarily unavailable. We’re working to bring this functionality back, and look forward to hearing your feedback and comments about the CFPB’s work soon.