Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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5 Rules Credit Bureaus Must Follow


Major corporations known as credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies compile your credit information then sell it to businesses that need your credit information. From getting approved for credit cards and loans to getting a job, the information in your credit report plays a major role in your life. Here are some rules defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act that every credit reporting agency has to follow.

They must make your credit report available to you.

You have the right to request your credit report information from the credit bureaus. All consumers have the right to one free credit report each year through You might have the right to an additional free credit report if: the information in your credit report has been used against you, you’ve been the victim of identity theft or fraud, you’re on public assistance, or you’re unemployed and looking for a job within the next 60 days.

They must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information.

You have the right to an accurate and complete credit report. If you find errors on your credit report, you can dispute them in writing. The credit bureau is required to investigate your dispute and correct or delete information based on the results of the investigation. The credit bureau doesn’t have to remove information that it verifies as accurate, but it must allow you to add a personal statement to your credit report that explains your side of the story.

They must remove outdated negative information.

Your credit mistakes, like late payments or debt collections, may wind up on your credit report, but they can’t stay there forever. Most negative information can only stay on your credit report for seven years. The exceptions are bankruptcy, which can stay for 10 years, and unpaid tax liens, which can stay indefinitely.

They can’t give out your credit report to just anyone.

Credit bureaus aren’t allowed to give your credit report to anyone who asks. Instead, only businesses with a valid need can access your credit report. Typically, this means the business can only view your credit report if your credit information is needed to approve an application. Prospective employers can view your credit report, but only if you first give written permission.

They must remove your name from marketing lists, if you request it.

Credit bureaus are allowed to include your name on marketing lists provided to creditors and insurers, who then send credit or insurance offers to you. You have the right to ask the credit bureaus not to include your name on these lists. You might do this, for instance, if you no longer want to receive pre-approved credit card offers. Remove your name from lists by visiting or by calling 1-888-5 OPT OUT.

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Comments 1

Frank on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 19:18

The last comment is important to know as you have to specifically request it. It usually only takes ~10 minutes or so, and I always recommend to do that.

The last comment is important to know as you have to specifically request it. It usually only takes ~10 minutes or so, and I always recommend to do that.
Monday, 30 January 2023

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