Consumer complaints about credit reporting more than doubled from 2018 to 2021, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) complaint database. Credit reporting is, far and away, the most common topic of complaints received by the federal agency.
- Consumer complaints about credit reporting issues, particularly inaccurate information, doubled from 2018 to 2021.
- So far, credit reporting-related complaints to the CFPB are poised to set a new record in 2022.
- Credit report errors can have a significant impact on consumers, especially when it comes to borrowing money.
Credit Reporting Remains a Sore Spot for Consumers
Accurate credit reporting is crucial for consumers. Negative information that's either inaccurate or fraudulent can have a significant impact on a consumer's credit score and ability to obtain credit when they need it.
In reviewing the CFPB's complaint database, Consumer Reports has found that the number of complaints related to credit reporting doubled from 2018 to 2021, and they're on track to set a new record this year.
What's more, complaints about credit reporting far outweigh complaints about products and services offered by financial institutions. Through the first six months of 2022, credit-reporting complaints made up close to 75% of all complaints submitted to the federal agency.
The CFPB addressed this issue in January when it claimed that the three national credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, may be in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act for routinely failing to address consumer complaints about credit report errors.
And in March, the federal agency highlighted inaccuracies in medical debt reporting, promising to take action against the credit bureaus, as well as those furnishing the data to them, if inaccuracies aren't addressed.
But Consumer Reports takes things a step further, calling on all three credit bureaus to not only ensure that credit reports are accurate but also to make credit report access permanently free, so consumers can monitor their credit files more easily and spot mistakes before they get out of hand.
Experian allows consumers to access both their Experian credit report and FICO Score anytime for free, and you can also access your TransUnion credit report for free anytime. However, Equifax limits its free credit reports to six per year.
By law, consumers can also access their credit reports from each of the credit bureaus for free weekly through AnnualCreditReport.com, but this will revert to once every 12 months in 2023.
Because credit reporting errors can have such a significant impact on your credit score, it's crucial that you take the time to review your credit reports as often as possible and to dispute inaccurate information directly with the credit bureaus.