Nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies are required to provide annual reports just like the three large credit agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said.
The big three credit reporting agencies have long been required to provide a free report every 12 months so consumers can know what the companies are reporting about them to dispute any inaccuracies. But there are numerous other credit entities, from bank check screening to medical record checks that must also comply with the law, the bureau said.
In the announcement on Thursday, the bureau released a list of 40 of these reporting companies with their websites and toll-free telephone numbers. The list shows under what circumstances you get obtain a report and what, if anything it will cost.
The screening agencies report information including residential or tenant history, check-writing history, employment history or insurance claims.
Consumers are advised to check their records with the reporting companies for various reasons, including:
- If you are a victim of identity theft or think someone may have fraudulently cashed checks using your bank account.
- Before applying for insurance.
- Before applying for a lease.
- If a potential employer asks for a written authorization to check your credit report.