One in five consumers had an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study released today. The Federal Trade Commission study also said that 5% of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans, or other financial products. About 20% of consumers found an error that was corrected by a reporting agency after they disputed it, and about 10% had their credit score changed after a reporting agency corrected errors in their reports.
The study looked at reports for 1,001 consumers issued by the three major agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The FTC hired researchers to help consumers identify potential errors. The FTC says the findings underline the importance of consumers checking their credit reports. But a trade associating representing the reporting agencies claimed victory, saying the report showed that "credit reports are highly accurate," because the proportion of reports with errors that could increase the rates consumers would pay was small.