Citing the impact of decades-high inflation on consumers' wallets, the nation's biggest credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — agreed to continue to offer free weekly credit reports through the end of next year.
Under federal law, consumers are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the bureaus. But at the start of the pandemic, the agencies announced that they would offer free reports weekly, eventually committing to do so through the end of 2022.
"Credit reports play an important role in financial health, and providing weekly reports for consumers at no charge is another way that we can support financial education and stability for people across the U.S. at this critical time," the CEOs of the three bureaus said in a joint statement announcing the extension.
Consumer Reports applauded the move, while calling on the agencies to offer free reports permanently.
"There is no good reason why consumers should be charged at all to access their own financial data," said Syed Ejaz, policy analyst for the nonprofit advocacy group, which noted that the bureaus profit by selling access to consumer data to lenders and other firms. "Consumers should be able to check their credit reports at no charge whenever they want so they can easily check for credit-damaging errors."
Consumer complaints about credit reports have skyrocketed in recent years.
Complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau more than doubled between 2018 and 2021 and are on track to set a new record this year. Most of the complaints were about inaccuracies, according to the agency's complaint database.
Estimates vary on how commonly errors appear in credit reports. Roughly a third of nearly 6,000 volunteers who participated in Consumer Reports' Credit Checkup project in 2021 found mistakes when they reviewed their credit reports.
"No one should lose out on opportunities like an apartment or job or pay a higher interest rate on a loan because of an error on their credit report," Mr. Ejaz said.
Consumers can request their free weekly credit reports from each of the bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.
Consumers should review each section of the reports and immediately report any errors.©2022 PG Publishing Co. Visit at post-gazette.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.