Anyone that has been denied credit will remember the added-on fine print at the end of the denial letter telling you that you can receive a free credit report from a specific credit reporting agency.  Sometimes this will require you to mail in a written response to request the free credit report, sometimes it will be as simple as logging on to the reporting agency’s website and fill in a few information.

While it’s little solace to being denied credit (let’s face it, rejection blows), Federal law dictates that you should be given clear reason as to why you’ve been denied, and free access to your credit report so you better understand your credit history.

One problem in the previous solution is that by providing consumer with only their credit report, many people couldn’t make heads or tails on where they stand in terms of credit worthiness.  Unless you’ve read up on your credit report know-hows, it can be at times difficult to distinguish what’s positive or negative — if any — in your list of credit history.

Hot on the heels of numerous financial regulation reform and amendments, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado introduced the Fair Access to Credit Scores Act as an amendment to the hotly debated Wall Street Accountability legislation.  This amendment, which was approved by a voice vote by the Senate on Monday, will allow consumers to receive a free credit score whenever the score has negatively impacted the lending/approving decision process.

Here’s what you can expect if the amendment becomes part of law:

  • If you’re denied credit or approved for a more disadvantaged rate, then you’ll have free access to your credit score.
  • The credit score you’ll have access to is the specific score that impacted you in the decision making process, not some random score from an unknown company or credit reporting bureau, nor would it be a range of score.  Since most lenders are still using FICO scores, the leading credit scoring model, that means it would most likely be the credit score you’ll receive and not some “FAKO” score.
  • No maximum amount or limit to the amount of scores you can get for free.  If you’re denied credit by lenders fifteen times, you’ll get fifteen scores. Though one prudent move may be to closely examine why your credit isn’t up to par before you apply for further loans.
  • If credit score was one of the many factors in denying a potential employment, you will also receive a free credit score.  You should note however that credit report is but one of many hiring factors for many employers.
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