Here’s a Bill in Congress You Should Get Behind

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A Senate bill would mandate free annual credit scores for consumers.

You could gain free access to your credit score under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

According to consumer advocate Bob Sullivan, the “Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (SECURE) Act,” sponsored by Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, would be an important step in helping consumers understand where they stand with lenders. It also includes provisions to help people find and fix errors in their credit reports.

“Errors in a credit report can make the difference between whether someone can live the American dream and buy a home or even get a job,” Schatz said.  “Whether you have good credit or not is determined by a dark ecosystem of companies that are not accountable to consumers. When the stakes are this high and your credit can affect whether you get a job or house, consumers deserve to be on a level playing field with banks.”

In February, we told you that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was pressing credit card companies to voluntarily provide free credit scores to customers. Discover, Barclaycard US and First Bankcard already provide free FICO scores to their customers.

Sullivan said the current proposal leaves a number of questions unanswered, chief among them –  what credit scores would be free to Americans?

Most consumers don’t have a single credit score, but rather dozens of proprietary scores maintained by various financial institutions. All are based on information in a consumer’s credit report, and many are based on the traditional FICO score invented by Fair Isaac. But providing any single credit score annually might not give consumers an accurate picture of their real ability to borrow in any given marketplace.

Americans already have free access to their credit reports annually through AnnualCreditReport.com. This bill seems like the next logical step in helping consumers stay educated about their credit. In fact, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson called for free credit scores in this video two years ago.

If you want to see free annual credit scores for all Americans, talk to your congressman about S. 2224: SECURE Act.

What do you think of the proposed SECURE Act? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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