Your Credit Rights
Speaking of your credit rights... Here's a thought provoking question for you: Who really owns your personal data, you or the credit bureaus that collect, report, and sell your personal credit information? Do your rights to your own personal data trump their business interests?
You should know that hundreds of State and Federal laws, regulations, and guidelines have been enacted to protect your rights by placing limits on how your personal data may be used. They require fair practices by the credit bureaus, lenders, and collection companies.
But don't be naive; your personal data is big business. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. Data Collectors gather your personal data and provide it to Information Brokers, who provide it to Data Users. Your personal data may include:
Your personal data is readily available and marketed to end users to further their business interests. The personal credit information included in your credit reports is used by companies like FICO to calculate your credit scores.
The "New Normal" of Credit Scores
Let's face it, credit scores are here to stay! Moreover, credit scores are increasingly being used for purposes other than originally anticipated. Your credit scores can now influence your employment, housing, insurance, utilities, in addition to credit risk decisions.
With that comes an increasing responsibility for you to know your credit rights and to be proactive in managing your own personal credit information. Now more than ever you must learn how to read your own credit reports, monitor them frequently, and anticipate how your financial decisions will impact your credit scores.
Whether you know it or not, your role has changed. Now you have to be more aware of how your credit scores will impact your cost for goods and services (e.g. insurance, housing, transportation). It's important to know your credit rights.
You have to know how to deal with the credit bureaus, how they work, and how to legally dispute any inaccurate, outdated, or incomplete credit information contained in their databases.
How the Credit Bureaus Operate
I spend a lot of time reading consumer reports, transcripts of depositions, congressional hearings and testimonies of credit bureau executives to glean insight into their credit reporting operations and dispute processes.
Here's a few interesting facts that may surprise you:The Big 3 credit bureaus are not government entities, but they are actually private businesses earning over $4 Billion annually by selling your personal data.
There are actually over 1,000 credit bureaus in the United States. But the Big 3 credit bureaus dominate over 50% of the market. They maintain credit files for over 205 million Americans!
The Big 3 credit bureaus have over 27,000 employees, with over 1,000 offices in the USA that process over 60 million pieces of data daily.
Most of their credit dispute processes are outsourced to companies overseas and processed by an automated dispute system called e-OSCAR (electronic Online System for Complete and Accurate Reporting).
The majority of your dispute letters are not ever read by humans. Computers read the letters using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.
Some independent consumer advocacy studies show that over 76% of credit reports contain errors. 27% of the errors are significant enough to cause a denial of credit.
How to Read Your Credit Reports
If you need help reading your credit report, complete the form below to download our free Credit Report Guide. The Credit Report Guide includes diagrams of each of the Big 3 Credit Bureau reports with information on how to understand them.
It's Just Business
By now you can see that the credit bureaus' business interests may not necessarily be in your best interest. It's not personal, it's just business. Their objective is to profit from the use of your personal data. The more data they process and sell, and the lower their processing costs, the more profitable their business. So technology and automation is paramount to their processes.
Your interest in the accuracy of your personal data is simply not their top priority. So whether you know it or not, holding them accountable for the accuracy of your personal credit information is your new role! But in dealing with the credit bureaus, you have to know your credit rights to exercise them. That's what legal credit improvement is all about.
Your personal credit information is too important to your financial future to leave it to chance. So be proactive. Know your credit rights. Learn to fix your own credit or seek reputable help to do it for you.
Get credit information and decide for yourself who to trust to help legally improve your credit.