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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The three leading national Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – have announced a National Consumer Assistance Plan to improve the collection of complete and accurate consumer information while giving consumers more transparency and improved interaction with credit bureaus about credit reports, according to a joint press release from all three companies.

“The National Consumer Assistance Plan we are announcing today will enhance our ability to offer accurate reports and make the process of dealing with credit information easier and more transparent for consumers,’ Stuart Pratt, President and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association, the trade association representing credit reporting agencies, stated in the press release.

The plan was announced by after discussions and an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The National Consumer Assistance Plan will focus on enhancements in two primary areas: consumer interaction with national credit reporting agencies and data accuracy and quality. Highlights of the National Consumer Assistance Plan are described below.

Consumer Experience:

  • Consumers visiting, the website that allows consumers to obtain a free credit report once a year, will see expanded educational material.
  • Consumers who obtain their free annual credit report and dispute information resulting in modification of the disputed item will be able to obtain another free annual report without waiting a year.
  • Consumers who dispute items on their credit reports will receive additional information from the credit bureaus along with the results of their dispute, including a description of what they can do if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their dispute.
  • The CRAs are focusing on an enhanced dispute resolution process for consumers that are proven victims of identity theft and fraud, as well as those involved in mixed file situations.

Data Accuracy and Quality:

  • Medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day “waiting period” to allow insurance payments to be applied. The CRAs will also remove from credit reports previously reported medical collections that have been or are being paid by insurance.
  • Consistent standards will be reinforced by the credit bureaus to entities that submit data for inclusion in a credit report (data furnishers).
  • Data furnishers will be prohibited from reporting authorized users without a date of birth and the CRAs will reject data that does not comply with this requirement.
  • The CRAs will eliminate the reporting of debts that did not arise from a contract or agreement by the consumer to pay, such as tickets or fines.
  • A multi-company working group will be formed to regularly review and help ensure consistency and uniformity in the data submitted by data furnishers for inclusion in a consumer’s credit report.

The complete press release titled ‘Equifax, Experian and TransUnion Launch National Consumer Assistance Plan to Enhance Credit Report Accuracy, Consumer Experience’ is available online at

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