Consumer debt is often the cause of poor credit reports and scores. However, there are times when other factors make repairing your credit difficult. After a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the three largest credit reporting agencies have developed a nationwide plan to protect consumer’s rights and improve systems at the agencies themselves. Let’s take a look at the benefits and changes promised to consumers in the National Consumer Assistance Plan.
Upcoming Changes to Credit Reporting
According to the New York Times, “The settlement requires the agencies to introduce the changes, which the bureaus said will be instituted nationwide, over three years.” Here are 5 highlights from the plan that may help consumers with some of their credit problems.
180 Day Waiting Period for Medical Debts on Credit Report
High medical bills affect so many Americans struggling to get out of debt. Fortunately, these debts will be treated differently for credit reporting purposes. Since insurance hold-ups often make debts appear to be unpaid on credit reports, medical debts will not be reported until 180 days have passed. This allows for insurance and other factors to be properly resolved. Paid debts that went through collections will be removed as well.
Easier to Dispute Credit Report Errors
Consumers will now be able to get more information and assistance along the way through the dispute process. Trained employees of the credit reporting agencies will work on the disputes rather than having the consumer go through an automated process. If your dispute isn’t resolved to your liking, the credit reporting agencies will provide alternative actions you can take.
Each credit reporting agency will have to include a link to AnnualCreditReport.com on their homepage. This site offers consumers one free credit report from each of the companies once a year. This service will now be more pronounced and available to consumers who may or may not know about it. Checking your credit report is a great way to have good credit management habits.
No Parking Tickets or Fines
This one might come as a relief to many people. Those pesky fines or tickets that have caused you grief will no longer be reported on credit reports. Breathe a little easier, but make sure you pay them! Avoid the fines and avoid drowning in debt.
Free Credit Report after Dispute
If a consumer initiates a dispute on their credit report, the agencies must provide a free credit report once a change occurs. This will hopefully put the consumer at ease knowing changes have been made, without needing to pay for a copy of their report. Whether it’s saving money on a free credit report or other measures, every little bit can help when getting out of debt.
Credit scores and reports have become so integral to personal finances. “They affect whether we can obtain a credit card, take out a college loan, rent an apartment or buy a car — and sometimes even whether we can get jobs,” said Mr. Schneiderman in a statement. Remember to regularly check your credit reports for errors. If you would like more information about credit reports and disputing errors, visit ACCC’s Repairing Your credit Report section of the website.
To speak to a credit counselor today about budgeting and managing your finances, call 800-769-3571.