One in five U.S. consumers is likely to receive a credit score different from the one given to lenders, potentially closing off access to credit for millions of Americans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found in a study released Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.
The study comes five days before the consumer agency, created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, begins supervision of credit-reporting companies' records and practices. The work involves direct review of about 30 businesses, including the three biggest, Equifax Inc., Experian Plc and TransUnion Corp.
"This study highlights the complexities consumers face in the credit scoring market," Richard Cordray, the agency's director, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. "When consumers buy a credit score, they should be aware that a lender may be using a very different score in making a credit decision."
The Bureau recommends consumers shop around for credit and regularly check their credit reports for accuracy and dispute errors.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year. Consumer advocates have charged that credit-reporting companies provide varying scores to lenders, potentially raising the cost of credit or depriving consumers of it entirely.