The Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) is over one hundred pages to read. Understandably, many consumers are not aware of their rights found in the FCRA, as they do not have the time to read all those hard to understand English pages. In this post, I will give you, in plain English, some key points from the FCRA so that you will have a basic idea of your rights.

Credit Inquiries

The FCRA states that the credit bureaus may only furnish a copy of your credit report for a permissible purpose which includes:

  1. Court order
  2. Employment application
  3. Credit transaction
  4. Insurance underwriting
  5. Business transaction in which a consumer report is needed

Please note that in all cases (except for a court order), a hard credit pull can only be done with the consumer’s consent.

Prescreened Offers

A consumer has the right to request to opt-out from prescreened or prequalified offers. Request can be submitted online or call 888-567-8688.

Negative Marks

There is a limit on how long negative marks can stay on the credit report. For example, a charge off or late payment can only be reported for 7 years. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be reported for 10 years. See this post for more details.

Identity Theft

If someone feels that he/she may be the victim of identity theft, then they have the right to request the credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on their credit report. they may also choose a request to entirely freeze their credit reports. Both of these options are free. You can read more about credit freezes and fraud alerts here and here.

The credit bureaus must immediately delete all negative marks from a consumer’s credit report which are reported as a result of identity theft.


The credit bureaus need to take proper action to make sure that all information found on consumers’ credit reports are one hundred percent accurate. If a consumer disputes an item found on their credit report, then the credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate the matter. If after 30 days, the credit bureaus are not able to fully verify the information reported then they will need to remove it from the consumer’s credit report immediately.

If items were previously deleted from a credit report due to them being inaccurate, then they are not allowed to reappear on the consumer’s credit report until they are proven to be fully accurate by the furnisher.

A consumer should receive the results from a dispute within 5 days of when the credit bureaus completed their investigation. If there were any changes to the credit report, then the consumer has the right to request a free copy of their credit report as well.

Annual Free Copy of Credit Report

A consumer has the right to request a free copy of their credit report once every year. A consumer also has the right to request a free copy within 60 days, after they were declined for credit due to information found on their credit report. Requests can be submitted,


Phone: 1-877-322-8228

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

End Note

Please note that this post is just to give you a basic overview of your rights found in the FCRA. To learn more about the FCRA read

I hope, in the future, to be posting more in-depth articles on everything discussed in this post. Stay tuned!