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Understanding How the Fair Credit Reporting Act Works

Understanding how credit reports work can be a confusing task, but throw in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and you have yourself a plethora of complicated information. Military Connection makes it easier to know how to understand the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its function as it applies to your credit score.

What is included in my credit report?

Credit reporting agencies are allowed to report the following information, which will be included in your credit report:

  • Your Payment History – The different accounts you hold with separate creditors will be included in your report, as well as your payment history with each creditor. Details such as how much credit has been given to you and whether you've paid on time or not will be included. Special notes such as overdue accounts that have been submitted to collection agencies may be listed on your report, too.
  • Your Identification and Employment Information – Your full name, Social Security Number, birth date, spouse's name and the name of your employer will be listed. Creditors may also ask for further information, such as your income amount, any previous employers, home ownership status or even previous addresses associated with your name.
  • Your Public Records – Bankruptcies, tax liens and foreclosures are matters of public record, making them able to be listed on your credit report.
  • Credit History Inquiries – Your report may also include a list of credit inquiries made by credit reporting companies. These inquiries may include all creditors who have requested your credit history within the past year and other individuals or organizations asking for your information for employment purposes within the past two years.

 

What are my rights as far as knowing what's in my report?

Upon requesting your information, credit reporting companies must provide you with everything located in your report, including any inquiries about your credit history within the past year, and the past two years in regards to employment.

Where can I locate my report?

There are three main credit reporting agencies located in the United States. They offer an opportunity to receive your report from all three at once by visiting annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 1-877-322-8228. You can also receive your one free copy of your report by filling out the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5281. By law, you are only allowed to order one report per 12 month period.

The three credit reporting agencies are required to provide you with your one report for free under the Free File Disclosure Rule of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), but you must ask for it. Those agencies are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Is there any special information I need to provide in order to receive my report?

There are specific pieces of information that you need to provide in order to receive your report:

  • Your name and address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Any previous address if you have recently moved.

Sometimes, you may be required to provide private information for proof of your identity, such as the amount of your mortgage each month. These pieces of information may vary from agency to agency.

Special Circumstances

Credit reporting agencies are required to provide you with a copy of your report even after you've received your free copy if you've been denied employment, insurance or credit and respond within 60 days of receiving the notice.

You may also receive an extra copy if you are on welfare, if there is a discrepancy on your credit report caused by fraud, or if you are unemployed and plan on finding work within 60 days. Any other circumstances will incur at least a $10.50 fee for ordering another copy of your report.

Keep in mind that annualcreditreport.com is the only company authorized to provide you with your free copy of your report.

For more information on credit reports and to learn more about financial planning, identity theft and more, visit MilitaryConnection.com. We offer plenty of information and resources for the military family finding it difficult to make ends meet. From military loans to finance and credit advice to a job board and advice for job seekers, our site has everything you need to make the most of your financial situation and to stay on top of your budget. We also offer a large array of information on Educational benefits, including information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, transferability of benefits and more. Although every resource is free on our site, registering as a user provides you access to a large array of materials otherwise inaccessible. There is no question why our thousands of users prefer the accuracy and up-to-date information on our site than many other sites on the web for all their military and veteran needs. When the next tour is back home, it's on MilitaryConnection.com, your “go-to” site for everything military and veteran.