CFPB to oversee credit reporting agencies

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with newly appointed Director Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray during an event at CFPB in Washington, DC, January 6, 2012.

Jeff Horwich: Have you ever checked your credit score, and become horrified that they messed up: they missed a bill you actually paid, or they confused you for someone else? Well: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said this morning it will assume oversight of the credit reporting industry.

From Washington, here's Marketplace's Scott Tong.


Scott Tong: The consumer protection agency plans to visit the credit reporting bureaus, and focus on their accuracy. A small error matters, because the credit industry issues three billion credit reports every year.

Chi Chi Wu is with the National Consumer Law Center.

Chi Chi Wu: Credit reports stand as the gatekeeper to whether a consumer gets affordable credit, getting a job, or getting insurance or an apartment.

Here's the problem: Many think the system allows Joe Schmo to get mixed up with Joel Schmo.

Evan Hendricks is author of "Credit Scores and Credit Reports."

Evan Hendricks: You can have six of the same nine digits in a social security number and have similarities in your first name. And that can cause a mixed file.

He says it's also hard to fix a report. Say you've paid a bill and tell the hospital or debt collector, they decide what to tell the credit bureau, because the credit bureau pays them.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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