Financial Advice

Do You Check Your “Specialty” Consumer Reports Annually?

When guarding your credit score, you need to consider more than just the standard credit report.

Published Jul 16, 2015 | Updated May 8, 2024

Most consumers know that they should check each of their credit reports from the big three credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion once a year. But did you know that you should check your other consumer reports each year too?

What are these other reports? There are many companies that collect and sell all kinds of personal data. They collect data such as employment history, rental history, banking, loans, insurance, criminal records, tax liens, civil suits, bankruptcy and medical history. These reports can be used by employers, lenders, landlords, insurance companies, banks and other businesses to help them determine their “risk” of doing business with you.

You should check the accuracy of these reports once a year. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) covers not only credit reports but many of these other consumer reports. Under the FCRA, consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) must give you a copy of your report if you request it. Many will provide you a free report once every 12 months. For others you may have to pay a small fee. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a list of consumer reporting agencies with their contact information. Note that every CRA will not have information on every consumer.

The CFPB has tips for requesting and checking your reports and what to do if the report contains incorrect information.