Your credit report is one of your most important documents, even though you seldom see it. It contains personal information about you and your credit usage and payment history. Every time you apply for a loan, a credit card or even a new apartment, the company to which you apply checks your credit report to satisfy itself that you are a good credit risk. Consequently, the information in your credit report is vital to virtually all aspects of your life.
Experian explains that the Fair Credit Reporting Act not only helps ensure the accuracy of the information in your credit report, but also gives you substantial rights regarding this information.
Right to know
Perhaps your most important right under the FCRA is your right to know the contents of your credit report. This means that you can get a free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Your best interests dictate that you do this.
Right to notification
The FCRA likewise guarantees your right to know if a company denies your credit application based on negative information in your credit report.
Right to accuracy
One of the greatest advantages of obtaining all three of your free credit reports each year is that this gives you the opportunity to review them for accuracy. If you discover inaccurate, incomplete or outdated information, you have the right to dispute it. The credit bureaus must then investigate your claim and expeditiously remove any such information.
You have additional rights under the FCRA, and even more of them if you become a victim of identity theft or are someone on active duty in the U.S. military.