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February 28, 2014

US watchdog urges credit card firms to make credit reports free

The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is urging the country's top credit card companies to make credit scores freely available to customers.

By Ellie Chambers

The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is urging the country’s top credit card companies to make credit scores freely available to customers.

The CFPB also released a report on customer complaints which said that almost 75% customer complaints about credit reporting related to consumers believing that their credit reports contained incorrect information.

CFPB director Richard Cordray said: "Credit reports and scores can determine the terms of people’s mortgages, whether they qualify for auto loans, or if they are eligible for different credit cards.

"Making consumers’ credit scores freely available on their monthly statement or online makes it easier for them to spot problems with their credit report.

"We will continue to work to ensure that credit report disputes are fully investigated, errors are fixed, and consumers are treated fairly."

The CFPB reported that although the three biggest credit reporting companies each maintain files on over 200m consumers, fewer than one in five Americans check their credit report in any given year, meaning they may miss errors in the data or even fraudulent transactions.

There is a perceived difficulty in obtaining credit reports – 9% of complaints to do with credit reporting were from consumers who said they had been unable to obtain a copy of their credit report or score.

In a letter to credit card issuers, Cordray said: "I strongly encourage you to make the credit scores on which you rely available to your customers regularly and freely, along with educational content to help them make use of this information.

"We will consider this to be a "best practice" in the industry."


Related articles:

Discover launches free FICO Scores for cardmembers

Almost 6m refused credit in the UK since 2010

FICO plans to launch credit scoring programme in Australia: Reports

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