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Credit Reports Are More Reliable Than They Get Credit For

A new report by PERC demonstrates the accuracy of U.S. credit reports. In the study, less than 1 percent of all credit reports examined by participants prompted a dispute that resulted in a credit score adjustment and an increase of a credit score of 25 points or greater.

The fact that the survey was sponsored by the credit reporting agencies will lead some people to dismiss the finding. They shouldn’t. FICO has studied consumer data from many different sources over the years. We have consistently found that the data in credit bureau reports is more accurate than data from other sources, and offers exceptionally high value when one is predicting the financial decisions that people will make.

This latest study mirrors one done in 1991 by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), which drew the same conclusions. The pivotal point made by both studies is that while errors do exist in credit reports (they are inevitable in a strictly voluntary reporting system), the majority of these errors do not involve information crucial to the assessment of credit risk. As a result, errors that have a material impact on credit scores — and by extension, lender decisions — are relatively rare. That’s a big reason why the FICO Scores built on this data are such a reliable predictor of payment behavior.

FICO is assisting the FTC's own major study of credit report accuracy, mandated by Congress in the 2003 FACT Act. We look forward to the results of that study, which the FTC is expecting to publish next year. In the meantime, FICO continues to recommend that all consumers take advantage of the federal regulations that enable them to check their reports for accuracy, at least once a year at no cost. Consumers can also find information on credit scores and credit reports at and

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