Personal Credit Reporting Changes: What They Mean to You

It’s no secret that monitoring and protecting your personal credit score is important for small business owners. Your personal credit score is a metric every lender considers when evaluating your credit worthiness; and recent changes made by the big three personal credit reporting bureaus will make it a little easier.

“The three big credit reporting agencies are making changes that could help steer some consumers clear of the credit dog house,” write Michelle Chapman and Alex Veiga for the Associated Press.

Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, have agreed to the following:

1. It will be easier to dispute errors on your credit report: The firms have agreed to hire employees tasked to review any disputes independently and not rely on what credit card companies or other lenders report.

2. Medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day waiting period: Over half of all collection items are medical debts and those debts may not accurately reflect consumers’ creditworthiness, according to a statement from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (one of several attorney’s general who have placed the credit reporting industry under increased scrutiny), report Chapman and Veiga.

3. Unless they sell them to a collection agency, parking tickets, library late fees and similar fines won’t appear on your credit report: “The idea is to exclude debts that don’t arise from an agreement by the consumer to pay back the money, as in a loan or a credit card,” write the authors. Nevertheless, if those uncollected fees get sold to a collection agency, they can still show up on your credit report.

A working group will be formed to monitor the changes that will take place over the coming months. It’s also possible, since other attorneys general are in discussion with the reporting agencies, that additional changes could be added.

Because personal credit is such an important part of the small business loan process, these changes could impact your score and possibly impact your ability to qualify for a small business loan.