H.R. 5332, the Protecting Your Credit Score Act of 2020 passed the House on a mostly partisan vote on June 29, 2020. We were pleased to only have three Republican defections on the vote as it makes it way to the Senate Chamber. We do not believe the bill will be taken up in the Senate, and the White House has stated that it will be vetoed if it does make its way to the President’s desk. The sponsor, Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) is the Co-Chair of the newly created Problem Solver Caucus, which seeks to gain bi-partisan support on moderate legislation that seemingly both parties can work together on. His fellow Co-Chair, Congressman Reed of New York was the only other sponsor. For over a year, we were in conversations with the bill’s sponsor, Representative Gottheimer, and although his intentions were good, we disagreed with all of the provisions of the bill.
There are several problems with the bill. For example, Section Four calls for the establishment of a one-stop portal to be managed by the three 603(p), TransUnion, Equifax and Experian would allow those who have not paid their bills to continue to file disputes endlessly with no cap as to how many disputes they can file. Furthermore, the bill does not tie a provision to the establishment of a portal with any cybersecurity protocols and simply leaves it to the three companies to manage; a sure-fire way to imbed confusion, put consumers at risk and certainly lead to higher costs of attaining credit.
Section Six of the bill requires companies to mail a credit report every time an adverse action was taken on the credit file even if the consumer did not request this to happen. The mailing of sensitive consumer information is not only an archaic process, but highly precarious for consumers as their sensitive information is physically distributed across the country.
Lastly, Section Two targets consumers who pay their bills on time. They would be the ones most impacted by the bill’s requirement for full nine-digit Social Security Number (SSN) matching. The FTC studied this matching topic in an exhaustive report directed by the 2003 FACTA Act, and found that matching nine digits of the SSN is not a viable solution, as it would not result in greater accuracy of credit reports, but it would lead to fewer consumers being approved for credit, lead to more inaccurate reporting and confuse the identity of the consumer.
These are some of the provisions we just could not get to yes on, and despite tireless conversations with the bill sponsor and members of the House Financial Service Committee we ultimately had to outright oppose this bill. We were not alone in opposition either – American Financial Services Association, American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Chamber of Commerce, Credit Union Association and the entire CDIA membership all opposed this legislation.
We will continue to take this bill seriously and will continue to advocate against it along with our continued campaign against the suppression of accurate data.