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Credit report accuracy and access to credit


  • Robert B. Avery
  • Paul S. Calem
  • Glenn B. Canner


Data that credit-reporting agencies maintain on consumers' credit-related experiences play a central role in U.S. credit markets. Analysts widely agree that the data enable these markets to function more efficiently and at lower cost than would otherwise be possible. Despite the great benefits of the current system, however, some analysts have raised concerns about the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, and consistency of consumer credit records and about the effects of data problems on the availability and cost of credit. ; In this article, the authors expand on the available research by quantifying the effects of credit record limitations on the access to credit. Using the credit records of a nationally representative sample of individuals, the authors examine the possible effects of data problems on consumers by estimating the changes in consumers' credit history scores that would result from "correcting" the problems in their credit records. Moreover, the authors report results for consumer groups segmented by strength of credit history (credit history score range), depth of credit history (number of credit accounts in a credit record), and selected demographic characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert B. Avery & Paul S. Calem & Glenn B. Canner, 2004. "Credit report accuracy and access to credit," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sum, pages 297-322.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgrb:y:2004:i:sum:p:297-322:n:v.90no.3

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    Cited by:

    1. Caterina Giannetti & Nicola Jentzsch & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2010. "Information Sharing and Cross-border Entry in European Banking," CEIS Research Paper 178, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 21 Dec 2010.
    2. Gregory E. Elliehausen & Simona Hannon, 2017. "The Credit Card Act and Consumer Finance Company Lending," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-072, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Phyllis Johnson, 2007. "Credit Card Practices of Vietnamese and Laotian Newcomers to Canada: A 10-year Longitudinal Perspective," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 227-246, June.
    4. Calem, Paul S. & Firestone, Simon & Wachter, Susan M., 2010. "Credit impairment and housing tenure status," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 219-232, September.
    5. Stephanie Moulton & C├Ązilia Loibl & Anya Samak & J. Michael Collins, 2013. "Borrowing Capacity and Financial Decisions of Low-to-Moderate Income First-Time Homebuyers," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 375-403, November.
    6. Jonathan Spader, 2010. "Beyond Disparate Impact: Risk-based Pricing and Disparity in Consumer Credit History Scores," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 61-78, June.
    7. Sheila Ards & Inhyuck Ha & Jose-Luis Mazas & Samuel Myers, 2015. "Bad Credit and Intergroup Differences in Loan Denial Rates," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 19-34, June.
    8. Courchane, Marsha & Gailey, Adam & Zorn, Peter, 2008. "Consumer credit literacy: What price perception," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 125-138.
    9. Cheney, Julia S. & Hunt, Robert M. & Mikhed, Vyacheslav & Ritter, Dubravka & Vogan, Michael, 2014. "Identity theft as a teachable moment," Working Papers 14-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    10. L. Douglas Smith & Michael Staten & Thomas Eyssell & Maureen Karig & Beth A. Freeborn & Andrea Golden, 2013. "Accuracy of Information Maintained by US Credit Bureaus: Frequency of Errors and Effects on Consumers' Credit Scores," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 588-601, November.
    11. Patrick de Fontnouvelle & Victoria Garrity & Scott Chu & Eric S. Rosengren, 2005. "The potential impact of explicit Basel II operational risk capital charges on the competitive environment of processing banks in the United States," Basel II White Paper 4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Diana Hancock & Andreas Lehnert & Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund, 2006. "The competitive effects of risk-based bank capital regulation: an example from U.S. mortgage markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. repec:spr:fininn:v:1:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1186_s40854-015-0005-6 is not listed on IDEAS

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