Collector - May 2020 - 19

COVER

Five decades on,
the FCRA has evolved-but
not quite enough to match modern
problems. On the anniversary of the
law, we look at some of the frustrating
credit reporting issues ARM industry
professionals deal with every day,
including changes brought on by
the coronavirus pandemic.
By Anne Rosso May

F

or the accounts receivable management industry, Oct. 26, 1970-the day the Fair
Credit Reporting Act was enacted-was not a particularly momentous occasion. The
news garnered some attention in the pages of Collector magazine when the law went
into effect in 1971, but coverage was nothing like what we'd see a few years later when the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act hit the scene (think: sensational media exposés, association
infighting and dramatic congressional hearings featuring a masked witness).
The FCRA is one of the main federal laws governing the debt collection industry. It
provides the framework for the U.S. credit reporting system, and regulates the accuracy,
fairness and privacy of the data maintained by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and
furnishers of consumer information. It's been amended multiple times over the years. It was
those amendments, coupled with the explosion of credit and the swift consolidation of the
credit reporting market, that ultimately made the FCRA the impactful ARM-industry law
we know today.
For the law's 50th anniversary, we're taking a look at the FCRA: why it was implemented, how
it's evolved, and the credit reporting issues ACA International members are grappling with today.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Despite the relatively rapid consumer credit evolution over the last century-which took us
from using metal charge plates to pay for a telegram at Western Union to using our digital
wallet to buy a DNA test kit on Amazon-for a long time the world of credit reporting was
relatively small.

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Collector - May 2020

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