Monday Vote Set for Crucial Gottheimer Consumer Credit Protection, Transparency Bill — to Help Americans Track and Boost Their Financial Security

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Washington, June 26, 2020 | comments

Bipartisan Protecting Your Credit Score Act heads to House floor for vote

A vote is set for Monday, June 29, 2020, on vital new protections for consumers’ credit and greatly expanded transparency into Americans’ credit scores — through H.R. 5332, the bipartisan Protecting Your Credit Score Act — bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and cosponsored by Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23)

The bill will create a new online credit portal to provide Americans with free and unlimited access to their credit reports and scores, the ability to easily dispute errors and fraud, and the ability to secure and track their credit data — all to increase transparency and help Americans boost their credit and financial security through economic declines and beyond.

“There are three companies in the United States that literally hold the keys to deciding Americans’ financial future — whether you should get access to credit to pay for a car, a mortgage on a house, how much you can receive for a small business loan, and your interest rates on a credit card. Each credit bureau comes up with their own magic number: your credit score. They have their own secret formula, and it’s up to each American consumer to track it, beg the credit bureaus to fix inaccuracies and acts of fraud, and deal with data breaches, which occur far too often,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “This bipartisan legislation asks the private sector — not the government — to come together to help fix this. This bipartisan bill sets up a one-stop shop, online portal to check your credit report for free at any time. It allows fraud victims to shut off the ability for credit crooks to use your information to apply for credit under your name. It also helps American consumers dispute errors in their credit reports that are stopping them from accessing the credit and capital they need.”

Gottheimer continued, “Through good times and bad, we need to be helping Americans protect and strengthen their credit and their own financial future.”

Every year, 15.4 million Americans are victims of credit card fraud — or around 42,000 people every day.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has previously found that 1 in 5 consumers have verified errors in their credit reports, and 1 in 20 consumers have errors so serious they would be denied credit or forced to pay higher interest rates. That adds up to 42 million Americans with errors in their credit and another 10 million Americans with errors that can be life altering.

It takes credit fraud victims three to six months, on average, to resolve the issues.   

In 2017, Equifax lost the data of more than 147 million people in their breach and left it up to American consumers to clean up the mess. 

During the coronavirus public health crisis and economic downturn, the U.S. is seeing spikes in new types of fraud related to direct relief payments and PPP loans, and Americans need better tools to protect their credit and resolve disputes.

The bipartisan Protecting Your Credit Score Act will:

  • Direct the three credit reporting bureaus to work together to create one online portal to:
    • Provide free and unlimited access to credit reports and scores;
    • Provide the ability to initiate and resolve disputes between a consumer and a credit bureau;
    • Provide consumers with access to see who the bureaus have sold their data to in the prior two years;
  • Direct the GAO to examine the most secure and accurate marker to track a consumer’s credit – whether with a Social Security Number or another federal identifier.

This bipartisan bill is the culmination of months of work by Gottheimer. After countless conversations with small business owners and North Jersey residents, as well as bipartisan collaboration with the House Financial Services Committee from both Chair Waters (CA-43) and Ranking Member McHenry (NC-10), a House floor vote this Monday will put Congress closer to helping Americans protect, track, and strengthen their own financial security and credit. 

The legislation is supported by the National Association of Realtors, Americans for Financial Reform, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, National Association of Consumer Advocates, U.S. Public Interest Research Groups (USPIRG), World Privacy Forum, and Greater Bergen Community Action (GCBA).

View a one-pager of the bill HERE

View the bill text HERE.

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