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Consumers Confused Over Credit Report Access

A new survey shows most U.S. consumers have a general awareness of credit bureau information (including their credit reports), but are generally ignorant of the contents and confused about the pricing for a credit score.

Recent consumer research published in Auriemma Consulting Group’s Cardbeat report, says half of consumers are generally familiar with credit bureaus, with a higher percentage familiar when consumers have children in the household (66%), or are affluent, defined as consumers with $100,000 or more in assets (61%). Since the FCRA was amended to provide free consumer access to their credit information, the incidence of consumers who have reviewed their credit reports has grown from slightly less than half (49%) to more than three in five (62%).

Cardbeat says consumers consider their credit bureau information and credit score to be of nearly equal importance in terms of their ability to get the credit they need at a reasonable price (79% and 82%, respectively). However, more than one-third (34%) of consumers feel the cost associated with accessing their credit bureau information is not reasonable, when, in fact, it should be accessible for free.

Another area of confusion is the fact that credit reporting is not the same as credit scores. Credit scores are not routinely provided for free. Further, there are different credit scores available (widely-used credit scores are those developed by FICO, and another called VantageScore created in collaboration with the three major credit bureaus).

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