Credit bureaus extend free weekly credit reports

Consumers can obtain copies of each of their reports through the AnnualCreditReport.com portal.

The credit reporting industry’s move follows an unprecedented wave of consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about errors found in credit reports, Ejaz said.

According to CR’s recent analysis of the CFPB Complaints Database, issues related to credit report errors accounted for almost two-thirds of total complaints in 2020, an increase of 23% from the previous year. .

In fact, more people complained last year about the credit bureaus than about the still problematic debt collection firms, says Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of the federal consumer protection program at the US PIRG, an advocacy organization. consumer rights and policy. Problems with debt collectors only accounted for 12% of complaints the CFPB collected last year.

Mistakes are common: A 2012 Federal Trade Commission report found that up to a quarter of credit reports contain at least one error. A CR’s Nationally Representative Survey of 2,223 U.S. Adults in January 2021 (PDF) found that 12% of Americans who have ever checked their credit report say they found at least one error in their report the last time they checked.

Errors can include everything from incorrect address information to more serious issues, such as loans listed more than once, repaid loans that still appear to be open, or information about other people’s accounts that appears on your report, explains. Ejaz.

In another consumer CR panel last year, attendees described a series of errors in their reports: Another said his report showed his son’s account information. Yet another learned that an unpaid cable bill had entered collections in Georgia, a state this person had never lived in.

All of these mistakes can negatively affect a person’s credit score, says Ejaz.

Mistakes could be a particular problem for people who have deferred loan payments to lenders or credit card companies, says Bruce McClary, senior vice president of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a non-profit organization that helps consumers rebuild their credit.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, passed last May, required companies offering federally guaranteed mortgages and student loans to offer deferrals while signaling a credit bureau that the loan is outstanding. On purpose, some credit card companies and auto lenders have also offered deferrals. But in some cases, deferred loan payments were still flagged as overdue, all the more reason to keep a close eye on your credit information, Ejaz explains.

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