CFPB seeks more free consumer access to credit reporting info
Late last month, the three nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — announced that they would allow people to check their credit reports for free once a week through December.
And coinciding with that decision, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking for other consumer reporting companies to make a similar move.
The bureau released its annual list of dozens of specialty reporting companies that collect and sell access to people’s data, including individuals’ finances, employment, check writing histories, or rental history records, “often without their knowledge,” according to a CFPB news release.
The list includes operations that the bureau described as “low-income and subprime reporting companies (that) provide consumer information to companies that market and sell products and services specifically to lower-income consumers and credit applicants with impaired credit records.”
The bureau said many of the specialty companies charge people a fee to access this data. The list published can allow people to see which companies provide this information for free, as well as search for those that provide specialized reporting by specific markets, including employment, tenant, insurance, and medical.
Using the list that can be downloaded via this website, CFPB director Rohit Chopra said people can exercise their right to see what information these firms have, dispute inaccuracies and file lawsuits if the firms are violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
“Many companies assemble and sell detailed dossiers about us that can determine whether we can get a loan, job, or an apartment,” Chopra said. “Americans have limited legal rights they can use to keep tabs on these surveillance companies and hold them accountable when they violate the law.”
The CFPB has previously highlighted problems that consumers have reported about the three nationwide reporting companies not adequately responding to consumer complaints about errors.
The CFPB also issued an advisory opinion in November affirming that all consumer reporting companies, including tenant and employment screening companies, have an obligation to use reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy.