A credit bureau, also referred to as a consumer credit reporting bureau, gathers and reports consumer information about individuals. This information is used by companies such as credit card companies, banks and credit reporting agencies to determine an individual’s credit worthiness. These agencies also compile information from collection agencies, financial institutions and creditors to compile an overall report on the credit behaviors of an individual. If you think that your credit score may be calculated wrong, do not worry because these services help you in deciphering the accurate information.
There are several kinds of credit reporting agencies. Some of them are available for free and some of them charge a small fee. There are also private agencies and government-run public records available for people to view. These public records include court cases, property tax information, marriages and divorces, birth, death and marriage licenses and criminal records among others. The availability of these public records makes it possible for people to check on their own credit history.
There are various kinds of consumer credit reporting agencies. There are some which are government-run while others are privately run. The most widely used agencies are Experian and Equifax. However, there are many other similar agencies that also provide similar services. These agencies collect the pertinent information, review it and come up with a final report which they will publish for the individuals to view.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the FCRA. It prohibits the three major credit bureaus from discriminating against consumers. It also requires them to provide you with a free copy of your credit information once a year. To be able to access this information, the bureaus must abide by the FCRA.
Many agencies have realized that in order to protect their consumers, they need to be able to keep track of the data breach on an ongoing basis. Therefore, they are now offering a breach notification service. Under the FCRA, the three major credit bureaus offer a one-time chance to settle a dispute with the consumer after a data breach. If the dispute cannot be settled within this time period, then the consumer is entitled to a charge-off. This charge-off will remain on the credit report for seven years and may adversely affect your ability to acquire credit or lease property.
A good agency is required to inform the consumer about a potential credit report data breach at least once a year. The Fair Credit Reporting Act specifies how and when such notifications are to be provided. If a company called Equifax, Experian or TransUnion fails to comply with this requirement, then it is required to notify the consumer by sending a letter. Every sixty days thereafter, the company must provide written notice that a breach has occurred. If a company chooses not to comply, then it is required to notify the consumer by any reasonable means.
Another important provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is that the three major credit reporting agencies must provide information about any breaches within a reasonable amount of time. If a breach occurs, the bureau must provide you with a written statement containing the details of the breach. In addition to the statement, the agency is also required to inform the consumer of the nature of the complaint and of measures taken to remedy the breach. The Fair Credit Reporting Act also requires the bureaus to inform the consumer about a breach once the remedy has been implemented.
If you think that you may be falling into a situation where you could be affected by identity theft, then you should seek help from the credit reporting agencies. You can request a free copy of your credit report from the bureaus once a year. However, if you want to check for identity theft or to check your personal information, then you need to get a full report. You will be able to check the accuracy of the details contained in the report using this facility. By getting free reports from the three major credit reporting agencies, you will be able to keep a good credit score.