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CDIA Says "60 Minutes" Story Misleads On Credit Report Accuracy

Included with this release is a full statement CDIA submitted to 60 Minutes.



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CDIA Statement Provided To 60 Minutes February 6, 2013

The core business of credit reporting agencies is ensuring the accuracy of consumer credit files.  This helps lenders rapidly and accurately assess the credit risk of individual consumers and assures consumers that credit files are an accurate reflection of their credit and repayment history.  The more accurate our data, the more accurate assessment the lenders can make of consumer risk. 

Repeated studies have shown that despite the fact that billions of individual pieces of data are received and processed each year, the credit reports assembled provide highly accurate assessments of consumer history that both businesses and consumers can use to make informed financial decisions.

For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau looked at the issue of credit accuracy last December.  Their analysis found that only between 1.3% and 3.9% of consumers disputed information in their credit report that they believed was in error.  Even that number may overstate the number of actual inaccuracies, since the study did not indicate how many of the disputes were the result of an actual error, instead of mere requests to update information or the result of fraudulent credit repair companies who attempt to scam consumers into disputing accurate data.  Another recent study by the Policy and Economic Research Council concluded that only one-half of one percent found an error that would cause the consumer to pay a higher price.

It is possible that a credit report might include inaccurate information. For example, information may get into the wrong credit file because of identity theft or a consumer's lender may only have partial identifying information when an account is opened or the consumer may not choose to provide it. That is why we encourage consumers to check their credit reports for accuracy, preferably before applying for credit ( www.annualcreditreport.com) and why credit reporting agencies have instituted robust consumer service procedures to ensure any errors can be quickly corrected.  Offering consumers the opportunity to dispute information either by phone or online speeds up the process and over half of all disputes are received in this manner.

Studies show that consumers who use the dispute process are generally satisfied with the results and that credit bureaus are handling disputes in a timely manner. The Policy and Economic Research Council study found that 95% of consumers were satisfied with the outcome of their disputes.

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