Legislation introduced in Congress,The Fair Access to Credit Scores Act of 2013, proposes to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The bill calls for the inclusion of credit scores with the free credit report available to consumers every year. The two members of Congress who introduced the bill, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, cited concerns about consumers paying credit agencies for inaccurate credit scores and for credit monitoring services that consumers are lured into by false promises of “free” reports.
Free Credit Score with Your Report
By federal law, consumers are allowed a free copy of their credit score after being refused credit, receiving higher interest rates on loans, or being given unfavorable terms on credit cards. Additionally, all consumers, regardless of such circumstances, have access to a free credit report each year. The Cohen/Sanders bill would expand upon these rights. The proposed bill mandates that consumers receive not only a free credit report, but also a free, reliable, accurate credit score every year.
Errors on Your Credit Report
As we have previously explained, material errors in credit reports are far from rare, with tens of millions of consumers paying for those errors. To make things worse, reports estimate that between only one-fifth to one-half of Americans know their credit score. That means there are a lot of people out there who are suffering from their credit score without even knowing what it is. Get your credit report, get your credit score, and if you have a mistake on your credit report, do not ignore it—your credit score will thank you.
Effects of Credit Report Mistakes
Employers run credit checks on applicants all the time. According to one survey, one in seven job applicants with poor credit were informed they were not hired because of their credit. (Keep in mind that employers may not necessarily admit to all applicants that they were not hired because of poor credit, even though, by law, they are required to do so.) Many find themselves in a cycle of poor credit, financial struggle, and unemployment. Do not fall into that cycle because of credit reporting mistakes.
Of course, poor credit can also negatively impact interest rates on car loans, student loans, and mortgages. It can prevent you from signing a rental agreement, securing insurance, or getting a decent credit card rate. Anything credit-related can suffer from a poor credit score, and your credit score is based on your credit report. So, a healthy credit report leads to a higher credit score, and a higher credit score generally leads to lower interest rates. Basically, the higher your credit score, the less you pay for loans. It is obvious why you want to ensure that your credit report is accurate.
Protect Your Credit Score
If The Fair Access to Credit Scores Act of 2013 is successful, you will be better equipped to protect your credit score. You will not have to pay to see your credit score or wait until you are negatively impacted by it. You will, like your credit report, be able to view your credit score for free once a year.
This means you can better understand what affect the information on your credit report has on your credit score, because you will see it rise or fall as your credit report changes over time. While understanding the changes will not be that simple, a drastic plummet of your score will surely tip you off to serious mistakes or even identity theft. Stay on top of your credit report, dispute any errors, and if need be, contact an attorney for help.