CREDIT BUREAU REPORTING & INFORMATION
There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Once your loan goes into repayment you will be building either a positive or negative credit history. Federal law specifies how long negative information remains on your credit report. This includes late payments, accounts that the credit grantor turned over to a collection agency and judgments filed against you in court - even if you later paid the account in full. Most negative information must be erased after seven years.
CONSUMER CREDIT REPORT
A consumer credit report is a factual record of an individual's credit payment history. It is provided for a purpose permitted by law: to help a lender quickly and objectively decide whether to grant you credit. Most of the information in your consumer credit report comes directly from the companies you do business with, but some information comes from public records.
YOUR CREDIT RIGHTS
Equal Credit Opportunity Act
This act was enacted to make sure women receive the same treatment from creditors as men. You have the right to obtain a credit card in your own name if you are a married woman and to have child support and alimony counted as income at your request. Creditors may not ask you about birth control or child-bearing plans. They are required to tell you their reasons if they deny you credit.
Fair Credit Billing Act
- You have the right to file a written complaint within 60 days after the bill you question was mailed to you.
- The creditor must acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 30 days and reach a settlement with you within 90 days.
- Until the matter is resolved, the creditor may not collect the disputed amount form you, nor may the creditor report any negative information about the dispute to credit reporting agencies.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Offers legal protection of consumer privacy by:
- Limiting the purposed for which a consumer report may be used.
- Giving the consumer the right to receive full disclosure of everything in the file.
- Limiting the length of time which adverse information may be reported.
- Informing the consumer when a report has contributed to a denial of credit.
- Providing the consumer with an opportunity to dispute information
- Limiting the access of governmental agencies.
- Providing civil and criminal liability for violation of the law.
Checking Your Credit
You may obtain a free credit report if you have been denied credit within the past 60 days, or you are unemployed and intend to apply for employment within 60 days, or you are a recipient of public welfare assistance, or you have reason to believe the file contains inaccurate information due to fraud. You can call, write, or go to the web site to obtain a credit report.
When Your Credit Has Been Denied
- Obtain a free copy of your credit report to see what negative information is being reported.
- Request an explanation of the denial of credit from the company that denied you credit.
- If you spot an error, contact that reporting agency and discuss the error with them. If there is an error, the agency should make the correction. If the agency says it was not a reporting error and you disagree with that decision, you should file a consumer dispute.
- To file a consumer dispute, contact your local credit bureau. They will send you a form to complete. Based on that information, they will send an official Consumer Dispute Verification form to the reporting agency. That agency must respond within 5 days or the negative information will be deleted. Your local credit bureau will forward the change in your credit reporting to the other credit bureaus.
- If the reporting agency is reporting correctly, but you feel there were mitigating circumstances, you may have an explanation put on your credit report. Call your local credit bureau to submit an explanation.