Law does not require lenders to report payment history

Dear Experian,

I was told by a bank that the law requires merchants and lenders to report data related to my credit. Can you point me to where I can find this legal information?



Dear LUK,

The person you talked to at the bank was incorrect. Merchants and lenders are not required to report information about the accounts you have with them. Reporting information is strictly voluntary.

Companies choose to report because they are reliant on information from other companies to help them make sound decisions. They recognize that it is only fair for them to share the information if they are going to receive it. Voluntary sharing of information has been the basis for credit reporting since its earliest days, when local merchants shared their lending experiences verbally with neighboring stores.

However, the law does mandate what a business must do if it chooses to report information.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) defines what a business’s responsibilities are if it decides to report information to a credit reporting company, like Experian. Those responsibilities include not knowingly reporting inaccurate information, updating payment information regularly and responding to disputes about the accuracy of any information within a specified period of time, among others.

The Federal Trade Commission provides a thorough description of the FCRA requirement for reporting information on its web site.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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