The Rules for a Credit Report have been Expanded

As we all know, the more you know about your credit, the better position you will be in when you actually need it.  Staying informed is not that difficult and it can result in substantial savings when you borrow, if you know where you stand.

As of January 2011, new federal rules were initiated where creditors must notify consumers when their credit report has been used to provide them credit on less-favorable terms than other consumers.  These are what they call “risk-based pricing” rules under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003.  Risk-based pricing occurs when a lender offers a different interest rate and different loan terms based upon their credit history and creditworthiness.  That means that if you have been notified, you can obtain a copy of your credit report for FREE.  This way you can immediately review your credit report for accuracy – important because things do happen that create an error reporting situation.

Here is a new twist – instead of providing the risk-based pricing notices, a creditor may decide to provide you, when you apply for credit, (such as an auto loan or an auto refinance loan), with a free credit score and information about that score.  This expands the existing requirement that mortgage lenders must give consumers the credit scores they used in whether or not they decided to grant you a loan.  Right now there is a credit score disclosure requirement in FACTA, but it will only apply when you are trying to finance a home.  Under final rules issued in 2009 by the Federal Reserve Board and FTC, credit card issuers and other lenders must tell you when they’ve been granted credit on worse terms than other consumers, based on their credit report or on a credit score.

With risk-based pricing, if a lender came back and offered you less favorable terms for an auto loan because of your lower credit score, you were not provided a notice of that.  It was not considered an adverse action of you accepted their offer.  Now if you get credit granted on less favorable terms, and they are using risk based pricing, they will have to tell you that you are getting a higher interest rate because of your credit history.  So, let’s face it, awareness is important when it come to your credit and now you will know when you are getting a higher price as a result of your credit score and your credit history.  That’s the first step in getting you to correct it and improve it so that you save money when you need to apply for credit.

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