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TheStreet Open House

Senate Bill Mandates Free Annual Credit Scores

Stocks in this article: NOTE

NEW YORK ( LowCards.com) -- A proposed bill in the U.S. Senate would mandate all consumers have access to free annual credit scores.

The Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting Act is designed to reduce the problems consumers experience through errors in their scores.

Bill S.2224 is sponsored by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Known as the SECURE Act, it gives consumers "access to meaningful credit scores free of charge annually."

This is similar to the service offered through AnnualCreditReport.com, with which consumers can see their credit reports from all three credit bureaus for free once a year. Consumers must pay to see their credit scores on this site, though, and that would change under the SECURE Act.

"In today's economy, it is critical that consumers have access to a safe and reliable way of checking their credit reports and scores," Brown said.

Providing this information will help consumers keep better track of their credit and correct issues before a problem grows. Credit report errors can lower consumers' credit scores and lead to higher interest rates.

"The SECURE Act provides a good framework for holding credit reporting agencies and creditors accountable for making sure credit reports are fair and accurate. Giving consumers free access to their credit score will help consumers know where they stand with lenders and others when it comes to their credit record," said Pamela Banks of Consumers Union.

Several credit card issuers are showing cardholders their FICO credit scores on their monthly statements: Discover, First Bankcard and Barclay. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is urging all issuers to provide free credit scores.

Bill Hardekopf is chief executive of LowCards.com, which compares and rates more than 1,000 credit cards. He is the co-author of "The Credit Card Guidebook."

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