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January 30, 2020

WBUR: ‘They Make It Hard On Purpose’: Pressley Vs. Credit Score Agencies

Last night the House passed Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s sweeping bill to reform practices by credit reporting agencies.

Pressley’s Comprehensive CREDIT Act would mandate that credit reporting agencies remove negative information about certain student loan and medical debts once paid, and require reforms to the credit scoring and dispute process.

The aim, Pressley says, is to keep debts incurred for treatment of life-threatening illnesses or predatory private student loans from haunting people for years.

“If somebody needs a life-saving operation, why is that they’re then going to be scored on their credit report, and hamper their ability to be gainfully employed?” she said.

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The bill also makes it easier for consumers to rehabilitate their credit profile, prohibits the use of credit data for most employment decisions and requires agencies to be more transparent about how they handle consumers’ credit information.

“You know, most people don’t even know what their credit score is,” Pressley told me. “And they make it hard on purpose. And then there is a predatory element even in your obtaining that score, so they can peddle more products to you.”

The measure passed in the House largely along party lines, 221 to 189. Its prospects of passing the GOP-controlled Senate are unclear.