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The Major Credit Bureaus Announce Big Policy Changes

The launch of a National Consumer Assistance Plan was announced by the three major U.S. credit bureaus last week. Equifax, Experian and Transunion along with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have worked on the plan which is “designed to enhance transparency and improve error corrections relating to credit scores” and will be implemented nationally over the next few months, according to National Mortgage Professional.

The National Consumer Assistance Plan we are announcing today will enhance our ability to offer accurate reports and make the process of dealing with credit information easier and more transparent for consumers,” said Stuart Pratt, president and chief executive officer of the Consumer Data Industry Association.

The new policy will delay the reporting of medical debts until a 180-day period in order to allow time for insurance payments to be applied. Previous medical debts that have been or are being paid by insurance will be removed from credit reports.

Consumers who dispute items on their reports will now be able to receive additional information from the three credit bureaus, as well as the outcomes of their disputes and further steps they can take if they are not satisfied with the outcome.

Additionally, the three bureaus will make sure that consumers are aware of the website AnnualCreditReport.com, which allows them to access free credit reports annually and have committed to focusing on “an enhanced dispute resolution process for consumers that are proven victims of identity theft and fraud, as well as those involved in mixed file situations.”

Schneiderman commended the bureaus for working with the Attorney General’s office to affect these policy changes to benefit consumers.

“Credit reports touch every part of our lives,” Schneiderman said. “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. The nation’s largest reporting agencies have a responsibility to investigate and correct errors on consumers’ credit reports. This agreement will reform the entire industry and provide vital protections for millions of consumers across the country. I thank the three agencies for working with us to help consumers.”

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