Thursday, June 02, 2005

Free Credit Reports--Good Government at Work

As of yesterday, Southerners can now get a free credit report from each of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, under provisions of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act).

This is the third phase of the four-phase rollout, but it’s worth noting. One of the reasons identity theft can flourish is that average Americans did not have easy access to their credit report. Thanks to the FACT Act, most of us do now (the Northeast joins the rest of the country on September 1st).

This is government at its best, removing senseless barriers to help all of us gain more control over our lives. Given how much power the three credit reporting agencies have over us, it’s only fair that we should be allowed to see our own credit report for free once a year. Not only will this help defend against identity theft but it will also help consumers better understand what appears on their credit report and how their credit decisions positively or negatively effect their rating.

Getting your free report is as simple as filling out an on-line form at, a free service run by the three credit agencies in compliance with the FACT Act.

In addition to free credit reports, the FACT Act also established a number of other provisions intended to reduce identity theft and make the credit rating system more fair. Given how often we criticize the federal government for not creating real solutions, we should take a moment to acknowledge that Congress and the President did well to pass the FACT Act. For the record, the bill was originally sponsored by Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL).


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