News from the US based Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
You may know that your credit records, also known as consumer reports, affect your ability to get an affordable loan, a job, an apartment, or many other essentials of daily life. This includes credit reports through the three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – as well as a number of other companies that collect your information and provide specialized consumer reports.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now more important than ever to ensure the information in your consumer reports is accurate. But, do you know where and how to request your consumer reports, and what to do once you’ve ordered them?
Over the past few years, we have updated and published a list of consumer reporting companies. It’s not intended to be exhaustive, but our list includes many companies, and tips so you can decide for yourself which might be important to you.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau presents you with an updated list. You can filter and search the list online. This year’s list includes the following features:
- Information on how to request a report. Our list provides the latest company name and contact information for the three nationwide consumer reporting companies and dozens of specialty reporting companies. We sort the companies by market area, such as employment, tenant, bank, subprime, insurance, and medical.
- Tips for checking your specialty reports. Depending on your specific situation, checking the accuracy of specific specialty reports might be important for you to do. With the exception of employment screenings, you can be rejected without warning based on the information in your consumer reports. Generally, when you know a consumer report is going to be used in a decision about you, check your consumer reporting information ahead of time if possible.
- Identity verification information. Before they will provide you with your reports, consumer reporting companies need to ensure you are who you say you are. Our guide includes the types of questions they might ask in order to verify your identity.
- Guide to free reports. Most of the companies on this list will provide you a copy of your reports for free at least once every twelve months, if you request it. In our list, we tell you which ones offer this free service.
- Companies that provide free credit scores. Unlike free credit reports, not many companies provide free credit scores, but there are a few that do. We tell you which ones.
- How to request a security freeze. A security freeze can be useful in preventing identity theft, and several companies on this list will limit third-party access to your data if you request it. As required by law, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit records for free at the three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
Your consumer reporting rights
When it comes to your own consumer reports, you have the legal right to:
Obtain the information in your consumer reports
All consumer reporting companies are required to provide you a copy of the information in your report if you request it. Some may charge a fee depending on the circumstances, in which case the fee will be disclosed to you before the copy is provided.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can now request your credit reports for free, once a week, from each of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies through April 2021. Learn how to protect your credit during the pandemic.
You also have the right to dispute suspected inaccuracies with the consumer reporting companies and those, such as your lenders, who gave them the information. Your dispute will be investigated at no charge to you.
Make the first move: check our list of consumer reporting companies.
For more information and resources on credit reports and scores, visit consumerfinance.gov/credit.