Consumers already have a right to review their credit histories with one free report per year from what are called the big three credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.  But the CFPB has expanded that rule to include “specialty consumer credit reporting agencies.”

The reasoning behind the existing law is that if consumers do not know what’s in their report, how can they dispute its truth?  Sometimes, consumers are punished with higher interest rates and other such consequences of poor credit scores, when in fact, there were inaccuracies in the report.  This same logic is being applied to specialty reports.

The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) describes “specialty reporting companies” as those “that collect information on a nationwide basis about medical records or payments, residential or tenant history, check-writing history, employment history, or insurance claims. Like the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), they gather and report information about you to creditors, landlords, insurance companies, employers, and others.”

It’s important to note that not all companies collect information on all transactions.  For example, one company may examine medical payment history, and another may collect data on your car and apartment payment history.

Consumer access to specialty credit reports will work exactly the same way as for the big three.  Consumers will have the right to one free report per year.