House passes bill allowing telecom, utility payments in credit scores

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WASHINGTON — The House passed a bill Monday to allow the reporting of positive information related to telecommunications and utility payments to credit reporting agencies.

The legislation, authored by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is aimed at helping consumers, those in particularly lower-income and minority households, build their credit histories.

“By allowing more of Americans’ positive financial information to be reported to credit rating agencies, this bill will help millions more Americans access credit and everything that comes with it,” Ellison said. “Once this bill is signed into law, millions of Americans who previously couldn’t will now be able to access lower-cost loans, cheaper car payments, or a mortgage on their first home.”

Under the bill, information about a consumer's utility or telecommunications service may be reported only to the extent that the information relates to payment by the consumer for such service.

“The passage of the Credit Access and Inclusion Act has the potential to bring a substantial number of people into the credit mainstream, particularly low-income families and households of color,” said David Newville, director of federal policy at Prosperity Now.

Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have sponsored a similar version in the Senate.

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