Financial Protection

Credit bureaus extend free weekly updates for another year.

Consumer alerts

Following a Consumer Reports story that free “weekly” credit reports would end in December, the Big 3 credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion finally announced an extension through the end of 2023. As I told Consumer Reports,

“Free credit reports help solve a market failure. Consumers should have the right to self-audit and correct a product about them to make it more accurate.”

Our  first PIRG credit bureau errors report in 1990 found that the #1, 2 and 3 companies leading consumer complaints to the FTC were the same Big 3 credit bureaus, which continue to lead the complaint parade to the CFPB in 2022.  (See my 2019 testimony to Congress. which includes an appendix describing the sordid history of credit reporting.)

Even though consumers aren’t the credit bureaus’ customers (businesses are), the billion-dollar oligopoly has used fear tactics — fear of identity theft  and fear of low credit scores — to  develop a lucrative direct to consumer marketing channel for subscription credit monitoring.

Since the Internet allows delivery of free credit reports, as well as those overpriced subscription monitoring products, at a near-zero marginal cost, shouldn’t consumers have the right to audit their mistake-ridden reports at any time for free?

More details are in our original “free reports to end?” post.


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