Skip to Content

Overhauling Our Nation’s Broken Consumer Reporting System

Our nation’s credit reporting system impacts almost every American. Many have experienced financial and emotional distress as a result of incomplete or erroneous information on their consumer credit reports. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one in five, or roughly 40 million consumers, have had an error on one of their reports.

As a result, Democratic members of the Financial Services Committee are calling upon Congress to enact legislation to enhance consumers’ credit reporting rights, create more transparency over the consumer reporting and credit scoring process, and increase the accountability of those who develop credit scoring models.

Click on the following links to learn more.

Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act

Ranking Member Waters introduced H.R. 5282 the "Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act," on May 19, 2016, which is landmark legislation to overhaul the American credit reporting system so that is fairer, more accurate, and less confusing for consumers. The reforms in the bill include:
  • Fixing the dispute process so that credit bureaus and furnishers, not consumers, bear the burden to prove the accuracy and completeness of credit information.

  • Shortening the time most adverse credit information stays on reports to four years and quickly removing paid and settled debts.

  • Protecting the credit standing of victims of predatory and abusive practices related to foreclosures caused by discriminatory loans, delinquent or defaulted private education loans obtained to attend deceptive for-profit colleges, or fraudulent credit items resulting from shady caregivers, abusive domestic partners, or family members.

  • Rehabilitating credit for distressed private education loan borrowers when they demonstrate consistent loan repayments for a certain period of time, which is similar to the relief available to federal student loan borrowers.

  • Expanding access to free consumer reports and credit scores so that consumers can better understand and improve their creditworthiness.

  • Restricting the use of credit checks for employment purposes, which is an unfounded and wide-spread practice.

  • Creating federal oversight to monitor the development of credit scoring models.

Additional information on the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 2016:

The bill builds on a draft proposal Ranking Member Waters released in 2014 called the, "Fair Credit Improvement Act of 2014."

Ranking Member Waters also introduced the "Medical Debt Resposibility Act of 2013" (H.R. 1767), which would require consumer reporting agencies to remove any information related to fully paid or settled medical debt from consumer reports within 45 calendar days. Under current law this negative credit information stays on a report for seven years. 


Ending Medical Debt

Ranking Member Waters has also introduced the “Medical Debt Responsibility Act of 2013” (H.R. 1767), which would require consumer reporting agencies to remove any information related to fully paid or settled medical debt from a consumer’s credit report within 45 days. Under current law, this type of information is generally retained on a credit report for seven years.



Reports on Consumer Credit








ICYMI: Articles on Consumer Credit


  • Waters Introduces Bill to Rewrite Credit Reporting System, By Ian McKendry ... Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, introduced legislation Thursday to reform consumer credit reporting... Read the full story at

  • Congress to consider dramatic overhaul of credit reporting, By Ben Lane ... The way consumers’ credit data is reported, recorded, and used by the nation’s credit reporting agencies could be about to dramatically change, if a newly introduced bill makes it way through Congress.... Read the full story at

  • Consumers’ rights to accurate credit reports get boost, By Fred O. Williams ... U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) introduced a wide-ranging proposal that would restrict the use of credit reports in employment screening, strengthen the error dispute process, and reform other aspects of the credit reporting system, marking the most ambitious push for higher standards since protections were initially set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which was enacted in 1970.... Read the full story at
  • The Bill That Could Radically Improve Your Credit Score, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel…The top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee is proposing sweeping changes to a law that governs the way lenders report consumer payments to credit bureaus. The move could help millions of Americans get better interest rates on mortgages, auto financing and student loans… Read the full story at

  • Credit Score Overhaul Introduced In House, by Vicki Needham … The top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee is proposing an overhaul of credit reporting rules that would help consumers ensure their scores are accurate… Read the full story at

  • Blemished credit? Congress weighs changes that could boost scores, By KENNETH R. HARNEY … A recent hearing before the House Financial Services Committee touched on these and other possible legislative fixes to the national credit system. But some of the answers that emerged weren't as straightforward as you might guess… Read the full story at

  • Credit Reports Would Be Overhauled Under a New Bill, By AnnaMaria Andriotis … The Fair Credit Reporting Improvement Act of 2014, introduced Wednesday by Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) calls for large-scale revisions to the information in consumers’ credit reports, including the removal of certain foreclosures and short sales… Read the full story at

  • This Law Would Immediately Improve Your Credit Score, By Martha C. White … A high-ranking lawmaker is pushing for Congress to redraw the road map for how credit scores are calculated, with an eye toward giving a little more breathing room to people who have fallen on tough times financially… Read the full story at


Back to top