Revised September 2018.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty agencies (such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental history records).
The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including consumer credit information, and requires that credit reporting agencies adopt reasonable procedures for meeting the needs of commerce for consumer credit, personnel, insurance, and other information in a manner which is fair and equitable to the consumer, with regard to the confidentiality, accuracy, relevancy, and proper utilization of such information. While the Fair Credit Reporting Act primarily deals with credit reporting agencies, it also imposes obligations on those who use consumer reports and those who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies.
§ 603. Definitions; rules of construction [15 U.S.C. § 1681a]
(a) Definitions and rules of construction set forth in this section are applicable for the purposes of this title.
(b) The term “person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, trust,
estate, cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision
or agency, or other entity.
(c) The term “consumer” means an individual.
(d) Consumer Report
(1) In general. The term “consumer report” means any written, oral,
or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting
agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing,
credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics,
or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in
whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing
the consumer’s eligibility for
- (A) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes;
- (B) employment purposes; or
- (C) any other purpose authorized under section 604 [§ 1681b].
(2) Exclusions. Except as provided in paragraph (3), the term “consumer
report” does not include
(A) subject to section 624, any
(i) report containing information solely as to transactions or experiences between the consumer and the person making the report;
(ii) communication of that information among persons related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control; or
(iii) communication of other information among persons related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if it is clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer that the information may be communicated among such persons and the consumer is given the opportunity, before the time that the information is initially communicated, to direct that such information not be communicated among such persons;
(B) any authorization or approval of a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly by the issuer of a credit card or similar device;
(C) any report in which a person who has been requested by a third party to make a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly to a consumer conveys his or her decision with respect to such request, if the third party advises the consumer of the name and address of the person to whom the request was made, and such person makes the disclosures to the consumer required under section 615 [§ 1681m]; or