40 Million Americans Have Credit Report Errors: Why Agenices Need to Help
Some errors could cause you to be denied a job
Nearly 40 million Americans have errors in their credit reports, and about 10 million consumers, through no fault of their own, have "errors grave enough to cause them to be denied or charged more for credit or insurance or even be denied a job," according to Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. In the first study of its kind, the Federal Trade Commission looked at credit reports for 1,001 consumers obtained from the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — and found that about a quarter of them had at least one "potentially material" error in at least one of the three reports. "We're talking about folks who could have gone into a better credit tier if these errors had been corrected," said Paul Pautler, deputy director of the FTC's Bureau of Economics. Although consumers have a right to a free copy of their credit file annually from each of the big agencies, those files can be unclear or difficult to understand and consumers have to monitor all three to ensure that their files are accurate. Business and consumer columnist David Lazarus suggests each credit reporting agency be required to explain clearly any black marks on a person's file and to offer potential remedies.