PRESIDENT SIGNS FAIR AND ACCURATE CREDIT TRANSACTIONS ACT
On December 4, 2003, President Bush signed into law the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which substantially amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The legislation provides new rights for consumers, including (i) the ability to add fraud and active duty alerts to their credit files at consumer reporting agencies, (ii) access to free consumer reports and credit scores and (iii) the ability to directly dispute the accuracy of information with the furnisher of that information. In addition, the bill imposes new responsibilities and restrictions upon (i) consumer reporting agencies, (ii) users of consumer reports, (iii) furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies and (iv) persons that accept credit and debit cards for the transaction of business. Key examples of these new responsibilities and restrictions include:
- Verification of a consumer’s identity when using a consumer report with a fraud or active duty alert and when there are discrepancies between a consumer’s address in the consumer report and on an application;
- Truncation of credit and debit card account numbers on receipts;
- Implementation of policies and procedures to prevent the repollution of consumer reports (i.e., refurnishing information that resulted from identity theft to consumer reporting agencies);
- Restrictions on transferring debts resulting from identity theft;
- Limitations on affiliate sharing;
- Enhanced disclosure of the means to opt out of prescreened lists; and
- Notices to consumers (i) of the communication of negative credit information to consumer reporting agencies and (ii) regarding risk-based pricing.
Except as otherwise specified in the bill, the Act will become effective within one year of the date of enactment (depending on the date that regulations are established for the implementation of the Act).