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Updated on Wednesday, April 1, 2015
All of us have been well trained: every year we need to download a free copy of our credit report from all three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). However, there are over 400 databases out there capturing consumer information. And this information can end up in credit scores, insurance scores or other surprising places. If this information is incorrect, it could make your life more difficult and more expensive.
One database that is set to become very important is the National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange (or NCTUE). 70 of the largest cable companies, pay TV companies and other utilities joined together with Equifax to create a database. This database contains information about your payment history, including records of when you failed to make payments on time to your utility companies. The database contains both positive and negative information.
As you can imagine, not all of the data is accurate. The credit reporting industry does not have the best reputation. And neither does the cable industry. With this database, we have over 70 companies reporting information to Equifax on a regular basis. There definitely will be errors.
This database is going to become more important because FICO will likely start using NCTUE data in future scoring models.
There is good news: you have the ability to request a free copy of this report every year, just like a credit report. And there is a dispute process. We are all responsible for managing our own data, and it is highly recommended that people request their annual free copy, and immediately dispute any incorrect information. We will explain how to do both of those below.
Free Annual Copy Of Your Report
Unfortunately you can not request a copy online. There are two ways to request the report.
You can call 1-866-349-5185. Ask for the NCTUE Disclosure Report.
Otherwise, you can mail a request to the following address:
NCTUE Disclosure Report, PO Box 105161, Atlanta, GA 30374.
Just like a standard credit report, you also have the ability to put a security freeze on this report. When you put a freeze on your report, it will prevent the NCTUE from sharing your information with the utility and telecommunication companies. If someone has stolen your identity and tries to open a telephone line with your information, for example, they would not be able to with a freeze.
You can complete a freeze online, at this website.
If you do not want to freeze your account, but you believe you may have been the victim of fraud, then consider adding a Fraud Alert to your account. With a fraud freeze, information will be passed along to the utility company. However, they will be made aware of the fraud alert and will be required to complete a higher level of verification.
To place a fraud freeze on your account, you can call 1-866-349-3233.
If you see information in your credit report that does not look accurate, you have the right to dispute the information. When you receive your report (yes, it is a paper report), a Dispute Form will be included. Just fill out and return the dispute form to start the process.
If you are having issues with the NCTUE, we encourage you to complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They take complaints regarding credit reporting agencies, and this database should fall under that definition.
You can complain online, or via telephone. The phone number is 1-855-411-2372.
Or, register your complaint online here.
You can follow the same process with both your standard credit reports and the ChexSystems report.
You can get your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can dispute information found on your report here:
To check for a free copy of your ChexSystems report (which has information on bank accounts, including overdrafts, bounced checks and other negative information), visit this website. And you can dispute information here.