A consumer disclosure is the long version of your credit report that contains all credit inquiries and suppressed information not found in your standard credit report, as well as the normal credit report records of balances, payment history, personal information, etc. The extra information has no bearing on your creditworthiness, so it is not included in the abbreviated version of your credit report that lenders and other authorized third parties see. But credit bureaus must disclose it to you under the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA) and its subsequent amendment by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA).
The FCRA requires all consumer reporting agencies to, upon request, “clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer all information in the consumer’s file at the time,” except for related credit scores and the first five digits of the consumer’s Social Security number if he or she has requested their redaction for privacy purposes. That’s where “consumer disclosure” comes from as the term for an individual’s complete, unabridged credit report.
Decades after the FCRA was enacted, FACTA added to the definition of “consumer report” with the stipulation that all disclosures be made “once during any 12-month period upon request of the consumer and without charge to the consumer.” That is where the notion of free annual credit reports was born. You can now review your full consumer disclosure file from each of the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – once every 12 months through the government-sponsored website AnnualCreditReport.com.
Regularly reviewing your consumer disclosure report certainly is a wise idea, if only in the interest of playing it safe and perhaps learning a bit more about how credit works. But doing so should supplement, not be a substitute for, enrolling in 24/7 credit monitoring and consistently verifying the accuracy of your standard credit report information. That’s how you’ll catch the big errors capable of costing you money. And you can do both for free by signing up for WalletHub – the only service that offers free credit reports and scores that are updated on a daily basis.
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