34% of consumers have found a mistake in their credit report, new survey finds

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Top line

As millions of Americans strive to regain their financial health after a difficult year, a new Consumer Reports survey found that more than a third of consumers have found at least one error on their credit reports, which are used to determine the eligibility and price of loans and credit cards, apartment leases, home purchases, insurance policies and more.

Highlights

Of the nearly 6,000 volunteers surveyed by Consumer Reports, 29% found errors in their personal information and 11% found errors related to their financial accounts.

According to Consumer Reports, complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about credit report errors have more than doubled since 2019.

Challenging and correcting these errors can be a long and frustrating process for many consumers.

10% of those surveyed said they found it difficult to access their reports, and Consumer Reports noted that many of those consumers were blocked from their account when they couldn’t answer identity verification questions required.

Crucial quote

“Errors in credit reports are more than just a frustrating problem for consumers,” Syed Ejaz, policy analyst for Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “Credit report errors can lower your credit score and lead to higher interest rates on loans or even prevent you from finding a job or an apartment. “

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Key context

Normally, federal law requires that the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) allow consumers to access a free credit report each year. However, when the pandemic wreaked havoc on consumer finances, the bureaus changed their policies to allow a free report every week to help Americans monitor their finances more closely. In March, the bureaus extended free weekly credit reports until April 20, 2022.

Tangent

Some of the largest banks in the United States may soon begin issuing credit cards to Americans using data on checking accounts or savings accounts rather than official credit histories, the the Wall Street newspaper reported last month. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp and others are expected to participate in a federal pilot program designed to reach Americans with “invisible credit.”

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Further reading

More than a third of consumers have discovered errors in their credit reports, CR study finds (Consumer Reports)

Free credit reports extended until April 2022: here’s how to get yours (Councilor UKTN)

Will JPMorgan’s New Initiative Help Americans With “Invisible Credit” Get Their First Credit Card? (UKTN)

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