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									          2008 ABA Issue Summary
          Credit Reports
          Contact: Carol Kaplan, ABA Public Relations (202)663-5471 or

           Check your credit report regularly.
              • Before obtaining a credit card, car or mortgage loan, be sure to check your credit report
                  for accuracy. Errors on a credit report might hurt your chances of obtaining a loan at the
                  terms you desire.

                •     Federal law allows you to get one free copy of your credit report annually. The national
                      credit reporting agencies must provide a single point of contact so you can get reports
                      from all three national credit reporting agencies with a single Internet request, telephone
                      call, or mail form. Free annual credit reports are now available to all consumers through
                      the Federal Trade Commission. (See “Facts” sheet that follows.)

                •     Only incorrect information can be removed from your credit record. No one can remove
                      legitimate items.

                •     Consumer protection laws allow you to get all the information you need to correct
                      inaccurate credit reports. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureau is
                      required to solve the problem in a reasonable amount of time, generally 30 days.

           Beware of “credit doctors” or others who promise to fix your credit history.
              • Many credit repair offers are scams. There is no “quick fix” for a negative credit history
                 and usually the cure is worse than the illness.

                •     “Credit doctors” who guarantee a new and perfect credit record in most cases will give
                      you a social security number that belongs to someone else who has good credit. This is
                      fraudulent and will lead to even worse problems.

           If you have a blemished credit record, there are steps you can take to rebuild it.
            • Always pay your creditors on time – a positive payment history is one of the most important
                factors lenders evaluate when you apply for a loan.

            •       Apply for a department store card or gasoline credit card, which tend to have lower credit
                    limits. You can also take out a secured credit card by depositing money with an issuing

            •       You might need professional counseling to help you set up a budget, get you back on your
                    feet financially and show you how to establish a good credit record. For help, talk to your
                    banker or call the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227.


AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION                                                                                      40
2008 ABA Issue Summary
Credit Reports                                                                                     (continued)

                 Credit Report Facts
                  • Consumers should review their credit report annually to look for inaccuracies, fraud or
                    mistaken identities.
                           If an error is found, the credit reporting agency must investigate and respond within
                           30 days.
                           Errors should be reported directly to the credit reporting agency:
                           Equifax: 1-800-685-1111,
                           Experian: 1-888-397-3742,
                           TransUnion: 1-800-888-4213,

                 •   Consumers can get one free credit report each year using the Federal Trade Commission’s
                     (FTC) Web site at, calling 1-877-322-8228, or writing to:
                     Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.

                 •   Consumers who request a copy of their credit report directly from the credit reporting
                     agencies will be subject to a fee.

                 •   Credit reports do not contain credit scores. They must be purchased separately from a credit
                     reporting agency.

   AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION                                                                                  41

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