Research report presented to the U.S. Congress


Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003: Third Interim Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress Concerning the Accuracy of Information in Credit Reports.

United States of America. Federal Trade Commission. “Pilot Study 2 on Processes for Determining the Accuracy of Credit Bureau Information” By Dr. L. Douglas Smith, Dr. Thomas H. Eyssell, Chloe Gray-LeCoz, and Luigi Wewege. Under Contract FTC07H7185.


This study examines accuracy in consumer credit reports using a nationally representative sample of consumers with credit histories. Participants in the study examined their credit reports from the three national credit reporting agencies and identified potentially material errors. Participants disputed any identified errors using the FCRA dispute process and were provided with new credit reports and credit scores. The original reports were then compared with the new reports and if any modifications were made as a result of the disputes, the impact of errors on the consumer’s credit score was determined.

Overall, 20% of consumers disputed errors and had modifications made to at least one credit report. In many cases, the change to the credit report had no effect on credit score; 13% of consumers experienced a change in score due to their dispute. When focusing on changes in score that could impact a consumer’s credit risk classification, the study found that 5% of consumers had errors on their credit report that may be affecting the likelihood of receiving credit or the terms of credit received.

A summary overview of the credit research study, is available via the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) website here. In addition, the published research report is also available online in PDF form, via the FTC’s website here.

Report to the U.S. Congress on the Accuracy of Credit Bureaus – 15 October 2008.