Important Sections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a 1970 era law passed to regulate the consumer credit bureaus and their collection and gathering of consumer credit information and access to their personal credit reports. Congress mandated it to deal with the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of personal information found in the credit reporting agencies’ files. 

This act covers a number of important elements, and it protects the rights of consumers in several key provisions. It limits the ways that these bureaus can gather and share information on individual consumers. Bureaus are limited to collecting information including an individual’s past loans, bill paying history, and present debts.

They are allowed to include information on employment, arrest records, previous and present addresses, and whether they have filed for bankruptcy too. It also provides rights to consumers such as the ability to freely access their own credit reports. 

Finally, the FCRA creates a limit to who is permitted to see your credit report and in which circumstances. Lenders are allowed to request your report if you apply for a car loan, mortgage, or revolving credit. Insurance companies are permitted to review your report when you apply for insurance coverage. The government is also allowed to ask for it as part of a grand jury subpoena or a court order (or when you apply for government granted licenses).

The two primary government agencies tasked with enforcing and overseeing the provisions of this act are the CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the FTC Federal Trade Commission. Besides this, a number of the individual states also maintain their own statutes that pertain to rules on credit reporting.

What Is Not On Your Credit Report?

According to FICO, your credit report does not gather or detail any information on your race, gender, national origin, religion, marital status, medical history, criminal record, political affiliation, or if you have ever obtained public assistance. 

FICO does note that lenders are able to contemplate this information by requesting it in an application. They state that other types of credit scores may contain some of this information as well. 

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