Big Changes for Credit Reports, Improving Accuracy for Millions of Consumers

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Big Changes for Credit Reports, Improving Accuracy for Millions of Consumers

Big Changes for Credit Reports, Improving Accuracy for Millions of Consumers

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This summer dramatic nationwide changes go into effect in the reporting of tax liens, civil judgments, and medical debt by the Big Three big nationwide consumer reporting agencies (CRAs)— Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Going forward, consumer reports from the Big Three (commonly referred to as credit reports) should hopefully experience improved accuracy and higher credit scores for millions of consumers.

July 1, 2017 Changes to Reporting of Public Records Data

Effective July 1, 2017, changes should significantly reduce the amount of public records data in credit reports. The nationwide CRAs are no longer reporting in consumers’ credit reports up to 50% of tax liens and almost all civil judgments.

These reductions are a result of the use of stricter criteria to match public records to a particular consumer’s credit file. As announced by the Consumer Data Industry Association, the criteria will require either a Social Security Number or date of birth in order to match a record— data which most civil judgments and many tax liens do not include. Because the CRAs will not be able to match the public record data to a consumer’s file, about 50% of tax liens and most civil judgment will not be included in the consumer’s file.

The stricter matching criteria is the result of a settlement between the nationwide CRAs and the attorneys general in 31 states and a separate settlement with the New York Attorney General , as well as supervision by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. About 6 or 7% of scoreable credit reports (translating to an estimated 11 or 12 million consumers) will be affected according to FICO, but the improvement will be relatively limited. About 75% of affected consumers will experience a credit score increase of less than 20 points.

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