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2003 Changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act: Important Steps Forward at a High Cost

With passage of HR 2622, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, Congress significantly amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 USC 1681 et seq.), which provides consumer protections regarding the use, accuracy and privacy of consumer credit reports. This law, originally passed in 1970, ensures that consumers have access to information about them that lenders, insurers, and others obtain from credit bureaus and use to make decisions about providing credit and other services. Amendments passed in 1996 provided new consumer rights to improve accuracy of reports, but in exchange for these increased consumer rights, states were temporarily preempted from passing stronger protections in a few specific areas of the law.
Those preemptions were scheduled to expire on January 1, 2004, which thrust this important law into the spotlight in 2003 as industry lobbyists sought to make those preemptions permanent.