How much do you know about the Fair Credit Reporting Act? – II

In our last post, we began discussing how consumers should never assume that the financial entities able to wield considerable authority over their everyday purchasing powers are somehow beyond reproach or that they have no recourse in the event these entities harm their interests.

To that end, we began examining the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, a landmark piece of legislation passed by Congress 46 years ago that is designed to help ensure credit information is accurate, reported objectively and kept private. We’ll continue this examination in today’s post, exploring what entities are covered by the FCRA.

Credit reporting agencies

When you hear the term credit reporting agency, chances are very good that you immediately envision the big three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

While it’s certainly true that these ubiquitous financial giants are covered by the FCRA, it’s important to understand that this law covers any financial entity that gathers and supplies financial information about consumers. To that end, credit reporting agencies include those entities that run financial background checks for everyone from landlords to medical clinics.

Information suppliers

As implied by the name, an information supplier is any entity that furnishes credit information about consumers to a credit reporting agency. In the vast majority of circumstances, this is the bank, company or person who has lent the consumer in question money — otherwise known as a creditor.

However, the definition has also been read to include those entities with which there isn’t such a clear financial association. One example might be a local government entity owed a fine or back taxes.

Credit information users

Lastly, those persons or entities that receive credit information for any purpose from determining whether to extend credit, insurance or even a place to rent are also covered by the FCRA.

We’ll conclude this discussion in our next post, examining the rights that the FCRA bestows upon consumers in relation to these three entities.

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions about your rights under the FCRA or other consumer law concerns.