Disputing Credit Report Could Get Easier Under New Rules

NEW YORK (AP) -

Disputing a mistake on your credit report could get easier and the effects of medical debt less severe under changes being made by the three largest credit-reporting agencies.

The Monday announcement by the agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — comes after months of negotiations between the companies and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The effect is nationwide.

Consumer advocates have long sought a revamp that would reduce errors on credit reports and make correcting them easier. Data collected by the agencies on hundreds of millions of people are used to create credit scores, which can determine who gets a loan and how much interest is paid on it.

“The nation’s largest reporting agencies have a responsibility to investigate and correct errors on consumers’ credit reports. This agreement will reform the entire industry and provide vital protections for millions of consumers across the country,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Under the changes announced Monday, people who contest items in their credit reports will receive more information concerning those disputes, including instructions on what they can do if they don’t like the answer they get.

In a bid to increase accuracy, medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day waiting period to allow time for insurance payments to be applied.