GAO: 'Most Consumers Understand Basics Of Credit Reports, But...'

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week that found consumers understand the basics of consumer reporting and the process for settling disputes, but could not benefit from "targeted educational efforts." The report found that consumers understood where information came from in their reports, that 60% of consumers have looked at their reports, most consumer knew what a credit score was, 30% have obtained their scores and approximately 18% of consumers have disputed inaccurate information on their reports. But most consumers were unaware of how their reports could affect insurance rates and employment, that carrying high balances on all cards could negatively affect their credit rating, or that they could contact the Federal Trade Commission if they weren't satisfied with the dispute process.

The report found a positive correlation between having experience with credit-such as auto or home loans-and having more knowledge about the credit reporting system.

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