Fair Credit Reporting Act

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Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits credit agencies from selling or otherwise giving out credit reports on individuals except in four limited situations. FCRA is codified at 15 USC 1681 et. seq.

15 U.S.C. § 1681: US Code – Section 1681: Congressional findings and statement of purpose

This description of the Fair Credit Reporting Act tracks the language of the U.S. Code, except that, sometimes, we use plain English and that we may refer to the “Act” (meaning Fair Credit Reporting Act) rather than to the “subchapter” or the “title” of the United States Code.

U.S. Code Citation


U.S. Code Section and Head

  • United States Code – Section 1681
  • Head of the Section: Congressional findings and statement of purpose

Text of the Section

(a) Accuracy and fairness of credit reporting: The Congress makes the following findings:

  • The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting. Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system, and unfair credit reporting methods undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking system.
  • An elaborate mechanism has been developed for investigating and evaluating the credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, and general reputation of consumers.
  • Consumer reporting agencies have assumed a vital role in assembling and evaluating consumer credit and other information on consumers.
  • There is a need to insure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.

(b) Reasonable procedures: It is the purpose of this subchapter to require that consumer reporting agencies adopt reasonable procedures for meeting the needs of commerce for consumer credit, personnel, insurance, and other information in a manner which is fair and equitable to the consumer, with regard to the confidentiality, accuracy, relevancy, and proper utilization of such information in accordance with the requirements of this subchapter.

Fair Credit Reporting Act Definition

Legal Materials

A current electronic version of the Act, as well as related Staff Opinion Letters, Actions, fees and other information is posted by the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcrajump.shtm).

Legal issues concerning the act are discussed thoroughly in Fair Credit Reporting, published by the National Consumer Law Center. If you still have questions about FCRA, call the FTC Help Line (202-382-4357).

FRCA was created in a small section of the Foreign Bank Secrecy Act (in Title II of PL 91-508, I think). The original language was substantially amended by the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-208, Title II, Subtitle D, Chapter 1).

Fair Credit Reporting Act Staff Opinion Letters from the Federal Trade Commission are available on Westlaw (FTC-FCRASO).

See Also

Credit Reports
Federal Trade Commission

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