Gottheimer’s Bipartisan Consumer Credit Protection Bill Passes Out of Financial Services Committee

Dec 12, 2019

Creation of new online credit portal will provide access to credit scores, ability to easily dispute errors, and secure and track consumer credit data Bipartisan bill will help North Jersey families track and boost their credit

WASHINGTON – Today, Thursday, December 12, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced that his bipartisan bill, H.R.5332 — the Protecting Your Credit Score Act of 2019 — has been successfully marked up and favorably reported out of the House Financial Services Committee.

The bipartisan bill directs the three credit reporting bureaus to work together to create one online portal to provide free and unlimited access to credit reports and scores, the ability to more easily initiate and resolve disputes with a credit bureau, and to provide access to see who the bureaus have sold your data to in the prior two years.

“There are three companies in the United States that literally hold the keys to deciding Americans’ credit fates, on whether you should get access to credit — what you pay for a car, whether you can get a mortgage for a house, the rates on a credit card, and how much you can receive for a small business loan. Each of these credit bureaus come up with their own magic number: your credit score. They have their own secret formula, and it’s up to you to track it, beg them to fix inaccuracies when they arise, and deal with data breaches when they occur, far too often,” Congressman Josh Gottheimer said to the Committee during this week’s mark-up. “My bipartisan legislation asks the private sector — not the government — to help fix this, because, as you all know, I believe that the private sector is the best solver of problems like these. My bipartisan bill sets up a one-stop shop, online portal to check your credit report, for free, at any time. It allows victims to shut off the ability of credit hucksters from using your information to apply for credit under your name.”

Gottheimer continued, “Reflecting input from the Ranking Member, the bill also asks the GAO to examine the most secure marker to track your credit, Social Security Number or another federal identifier. By creating this one-stop portal, all three credit bureaus will now have to work together, to help protect you and make your lives easier, not the other way around. My bipartisan legislation will help fix this, and help Americans protect what they have spent a lifetime building — their credit.”

Tom Bracken, the President and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said in endorsing Gottheimer’s bipartisan bill, “Everyone deserves to be evaluated properly regarding their ability to secure credit.”

“Of all the difficulties experienced by low-income people, one of the biggest issues facing these communities is access to credit. In many cases, inaccurate credit information limits low-income individuals from accessing affordable loan products. This can lead to borrowing from high-cost pay-day lenders, or using high-rate credit facilities,” said Greater Bergen Community Action (GCBA) Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Allan De Giulio, Ph.D. in a letter to Gottheimer in support of the bill. “Greater Bergen Community Action extends its support to amending the Fair Credit Reporting Act through this bill, which provides for the creation of a free online consumer portal, insuring the accuracy of consumer credit information, and an improved dispute process as well as other regulatory provisions. It is evident that the passage of this legislation will help the most vulnerable of our community and GCBA looks forward to its passage, and applauds your tireless efforts in this pursuit.”

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

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has previously found that one in five consumers have verified errors in their credit reports, and one in twenty consumers have errors so serious they would be denied credit or need to pay more for it. That adds up to 42 million Americans with errors in their credit, and 10 million with errors that can be life altering.

Furthermore, on average, it can take credit fraud victims three to six months to resolve the problem.

Gottheimer’s bipartisan Protecting Your Credit Score Act of 2019 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

Watch Gottheimer’s remarks during the Financial Services Committee mark-up HERE.

View the bill text HERE.


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