The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently issued new rules and guidelines to promote the accuracy of consumer information included in credit reports. The final rules and guidelines were issued in conjunction with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision (the “Agencies”) pursuant to Section 312 of the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act of 2003 (“FACTA”). The Agencies’ release regarding the new rules, entitled “Procedures to Enhance the Accuracy and Integrity of Information Furnished to Consumer Reporting Agencies Under Section 312 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act” and “Guidelines for Furnishers of Information to Consumer Reporting Agencies,” was issued on July 1, 2009. The final rules and guidelines will take effect on July 1, 2010.

The final rules and guidelines include provisions allowing consumers to dispute inaccuracies in their credit files directly with entities that furnish information to credit reporting agencies, including financial institutions and other organizations. The Agencies’ guidelines specify the steps credit information furnishers should take to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information they provide to credit reporting agencies, including suggestions such as when it may be necessary to provide supplemental information in order to avoid creating misleading impressions about creditworthiness. The accuracy and integrity of information contained in credit reports is critical to individual consumers, as this information is used to assess eligibility for credit, employment, insurance and housing, and consumers with errors in their credit reports may be denied access to benefits.

A copy of the final rules and guidelines is available here.