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Requesting a Credit Report for Special Situations

By Ruth Racey
Published: Sunday, September 20th, 2009

By law, Americans are entitled to receive a copy of their credit report once a year from any of the three credit agencies. Cardholders, however, have to file a request with the credit bureaus authorized by the federal government to collect information and issue reports. The three major credit agencies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Together, these bureaus provide potential card issuers, banks, and other interested institutions, with the cardholders’ credit background.

Americans can also access and monitor their credit histories through websites. While not free, these sites provide cardholders with valuable access to their records. For a small fee, individuals can request for the latest version of their credit reports. Some websites even offer added benefits like credit analysis and other useful tools.

Because credit reports contain valuable and highly sensitive personal information about the cardholders, the government regulates access to credit histories. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act limits access to credit reports to select institutions and individuals.

Aside from the free reports each year, cardholders can also request for a copy of their credit reports depending on special needs and situations. The law allows individuals to file multiple requests for their credit report as long as their reasons fall within several accepted situations.

If a bank or card company denies a credit application, then applicants can ask for a copy of their credit history. However, they need to file requests within 60 days after a failed application. Consumers can then examine their credit reports for possible reasons why their application was denied.

Cardholders can also challenge possible errors their credit records may contain. If the card bureaus agree that a mistake has been committed, they are obligated by law to make the necessary corrections. In this situation, cardholders can request for another copy of their credit reports to verify that the mistakes have been fixed. If their records remain the same and the errors are still present, cardholders have the right to complain to appropriate government agencies and file lawsuits against the responsible credit agency.

Jobseekers can also ask credit bureaus to provide them a copy of their credit reports if they intend to apply for a position in the next sixty days. Some employers require applicants to show their credit records. Also, individuals who feel that their employment has been affected adversely based on information in their credit reports can also request another free copy from the credit agencies.

Americans receiving community welfare assistance also reserve the right to ask for credit reports aside from their annual quota. Suspicions of identity theft or credit card fraud are valid reasons for requesting additional free copies of credit reports.

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