Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates the credit reporting industry. It allows you to dispute credit report errors and limits how your credit reports can be used. Companies that violate the FCRA are liable for damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

Does the FCRA require my credit report to be 100% accurate?

The FCRA does not require 100% accuracy. Instead, it requires credit reporting agencies (CRAs) to follow reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy. So, if a CRA reports inaccurate information, but it has reasonable procedures in place (and actually followed them), then it’s not liable for reporting inaccurate information. 

Does the FCRA require credit report errors to be fixed?

The FCRA requires CRAs and information providers (like banks and lenders) to conduct reasonable investigations if you dispute a credit report error. So, technically, the FCRA doesn’t necessarily require that errors be fixed. Instead, it merely requires that a reasonable reinvestigation be conducted, and that any errors discovered be corrected or removed. The obligation to conduct a reasonable investigation arises only if you dispute a credit report error directly with a CRA.

For more information on the dispute process, visit fixcreditreporterrors.com (our sponsored website), and read our posts on disputing credit report errorsfixing mixed credit filesremoving old information, or correcting identity theft errors.

Does the FCRA limit how credit reports are used?

The FCRA sets forth various “permissible purposes” for which companies can use credit reports. Some of these purposes include evaluating credit applications, or evaluating job applications, so long as you give proper consent. To learn more about how your credit report can be used, visit our fixcreditreporterrors.com website and read our post on improper use of credit reports.

Am I entitled to a free copy of my credit report?

For most types of credit reporting agencies, consumer reporting agencies, and speciality or supplement credit/consumer reporting agencies, you are entitled to a free credit report once per year. There also are various other instances in which the FCRA mandates that you get a free copy of your credit report. To learn more, visit our sponsored website, fixcreditreporterrors.com, and read our post on how to get a free copy of your credit report.

Does the FCRA require removal of adverse information after a certain period of time?

The FCRA requires most adverse information over 7 years old to be removed from your credit report. That means CRAs must stop reporting this information on your credit report. Charge-off debts, repossessions, bankruptcies, criminal arrests and convictions, civil judgments, student loans, and some other types of information may be reportable for longer time periods.

What happens when companies violate the FCRA?

When companies violate the FCRA, they’re liable for damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. Consumers can recover statutory damages up to $1000, any monetary loss, punitive damages, and damages for any stress or anxiety caused by a FCRA violation. To learn more, visit our credit report problems page.

Hire us to help!

If you’re having credit report problems, please contact us for help. To get a free case review from our credit report attorney, complete our contact form.

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