According to the FACT Act, you can request a free copy of your consumer disclosure (a.k.a. Credit Report) every 12 months from the 3 major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This free credit report law regulates how consumer reporting agencies gather and use your credit information, and restricts the access to this sensitive information.
Following are the credit report laws summary of rights. For more information regarding your rights under the FCRA you can download the full FCRA Credit Report document here, or visit ftc.gov/credit.
You have the right to know what is in your file
Consumer reporting agencies (e.g. Credit Bureaus) must provide you the information in your file upon your request. In many cases you may be eligible to receive the information free of charge.
You have the right to receive free annual credit report
According to the FACT Act you are eligible for a free FCRA Credit Report from the 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once every 12 months. See free government credit report for more information.
You have the right to ask for your credit score
Consumer reporting agencies (Credit Bureaus) that create or distribute credit scores based on the information that is in your file must provide you that score when you request it. This service however is not provided for free and usually cost $11.
You must be told if information in your file has been used against you
Anyone who uses a credit report, credit score or any other type of consumer report information to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment – must inform you and provide you the name, address and phone number of the agency that provided the information. See Adverse Action Letter for more information
You have the right to dispute information in your file
If you believe that some of the information that is in your file is incomplete or incorrect – you have a right to dispute it. Both the consumer reporting agency and the entity that provided it with that information is required by law to investigate and correct that information within 30 to 45 days. Information that is found to be inaccurate, incomplete or otherwise can no longer be verified must be corrected by the consumer reporting agency. See Credit Report Disputes for more information.
You have the right to exclude your name from mailing lists
You have a right to request the 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to exclude your name, address or telephone number information from lists for pre-approved, unsolicited credit and insurance offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT OUT (1–888–567–8688).
The FCRA protects you by requiring consumer reporting agencies to:
- Limit Access to your information
A consumer reporting agency may not provide your file to any party that lacks a permissible purpose such as the evaluation of an application for a loan, credit, service, or employment. See who has access to my credit report for more information.
- Receive your consent before supplying information to potential employers
Potential employers need your consent in writing in order for them to be able to access your information file. Consumer reporting agencies may not grant access to your file unless they are presented with your written consent.
- Delete outdated information
Negative information that is more than 7 years old (10 years in case of bankruptcy) must be deleted from your file.
- Correct or delete inaccurate information
A consumer reporting agency must correct or delete from your credit file the information that is found to be inaccurate or can no longer be verified. If a dispute regarding certain information may not be resolved, you have the right to add a statement to your file that explains the matter.
You have the right to add fraud and active duty alerts
- You have the right to place initial fraud alerts free of charge to help prevent identity theft. Initial fraud alert last for 90 days, and can be extended indefinitely.
- Military personnel serving away from their regular duty station may place active duty alerts to help prevent identity theft. Active duty alert lasts a year, and can be extended every year.
- People that are victims of identity theft have right to place extended fraud alerts free of charge to help prevent further damage. Extended fraud alert remain on your files for seven years.
For More Information
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them.
For more information on the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act visit FTC’s free credit report information site, or call toll-free 1-877-FACTACT (1-877-322-8228).
The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.