Free credit score law stuck in Senate committee

There’s a small but important piece of legislation languishing in the U.S. Senate right now. It’s called the Fair Access to Credit Scores Act of 2010 (S. 3247), and you might want to encourage your senators to support it. The bill has been referred to committee, and that’s where most bills die.

You probably know about your right to a free credit report once a year. (You can get them from AnnualCreditReport.com, not the highly advertised and misleading FreeCreditReport.com.) But to date, these free credit reports do not contain the single piece of information most of us want — our credit score. To get that, you still have to pay a fee. The pending legislation requires you be given your score for free.

The bill has bipartisan support, for whatever that’s worth these days, and maybe — just maybe — it will become law. We should never have had to pay for our own credit info in the first place. Particularly not when so many others — loan officers, employers, credit card companies — have access to it and judge us accordingly.

It would be nice to see lawmakers prove they’re capable of doing what they’re paid to do — work for the benefit of the people who elect them. Talk’s cheap. It’s not enough just to coauthor or sponsor a bill. They need to pass it. Tell ’em what you think!

3 comments

  1. Are the credit scoring enterprises private businesses? If they are, do we want the government dictating the prices that private businesses charge? If these private companies provide a valuable service, why shouldn’t they charge for it? I can see why this would be a popular law, but I’m leery of granting the government another unconstitutional authority. Is this the door to a Pandora’s box we don’t want opened? Once opened, where does it end?
    __________
    I honestly don’t know if they are private businesses. Regardless, we shouldn’t have to pay to see our own information. It’s not compiled for our use and we don’t profit from it. It’s complied for the companies who use it to make profitable decisions about us. The companies who benefit from having the information are the ones who should pay for it.

    If the credit reporting companies are private enterprises, they are entitled to make a profit from their work, the compilation and selling of our information to interested companies. Seems to me those companies should be paying us for the right to compile our information and sell it to a third party.

  2. If I understand — implicit in your response is that it’s OUR property we’re talking about here and that WE have exclusive rights to our own personal property and it’s use.

    I agree with that fundamentally. So how did it happen that we gave up those rights? Is it in the fine print of every contract we sign when seeking credit? If agreeing to the specifications of those contracts is crucial to the lending organization’s making good investments in borrowers, should they be allowed to refuse credit to those who aren’t willing to share their credit information? When we want to install software, the providers insist that we accept their conditions by requiring us to click their button. Do they have a valid reason for doing that?

    I think I’d prefer a compromise whereby we could restrict the credit scoring companies use of our personal information property in much the same way that the software companies restrict the use of their software property. e.g. You can provide this information to the credit provider I’m currently seeking to do business with, but no others without my express permission.

    What do you think?
    ___________
    I’m not saying we have exclusive rights to the information (obviously we don’t anymore); I’m just saying we shouldn’t have to pay to see our own information.

    I agree with your compromise. NO company should have the right to share our information with another company without our express permission. Unfortunately, it seems almost every agreement we enter into gives that permission to multiple companies, one way or another. And I don’t see getting that genie back into the bottle. Too many corporations are making too money by exchanging and leveraging our financial information, usually to their advantage and our disadvantage.

  3. In my previous note I tried to include an input [I Agree] button and failed.

    The sentence should have read:

    When we want to install software, the providers insist that we accept their conditions by requiring us to click their [I Agree] button.

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