The 3 main credit bureaus have announced new changes that will help take the bite out of unpaid medical debt and make it easier to dispute mistakes on your credit report.
UPDATE: As an add-on to the points below — which were originally announced back in March — there’s a brand new settlement offering new consumer protections for you:
- Parking tickets, speeding tickets, and library fines can no longer go on your report
- When you call a credit bureau to initiate a dispute, the employees will no longer be allowed to upsell you on monitoring services
- Debt collectors who want to put something negative about you on your report will have to provide full info about the debt and who the original creditor was
The changes coming to your credit file
Here’s a quick overview of what came about from the March 2015 announcement:
— The automatic dispute resolution process will get the human touch. I’ve talked in the past about the dangers of having your dispute reduced to a 3-digit code. Now specially trained employees will review your dispute by hand.
— There will be a new 180-day waiting period before medical debt will be reported on a consumer’s credit report. This will allow insurance payments to be properly reflected in your records.
— AnnualCreditReport.com will be given more visibility and prominence in search engine results. Too many people don’t find their way this site, which is the one and only free way to get copies of your credit report.
— If you file a dispute, you will have access to a second free annual credit report from each of the bureaus. That way you can be sure the change has been made.
— Debts from payday lenders — who charge interest rates that amount to usury — will not be reflected in your credit report. (New York State only)
— A newly established National Credit Reporting Working Group will help ensure the accuracy of the data that shows up in your credit report.
These changes will be implemented over the next several months.
Equifax, Experian and Trans Union control the consumer credit information of 200 million Americans. The info that they maintain is translated into your credit score, which influences the interest rates you pay when you borrow money and the premiums you pay for home and auto insurance.
The 3 credit bureaus made the announcement about the changes on Monday in conjunction with the attorney general of the state of New York.