A new report by PERC, titled "U.S. Consumer Credit Reports: Measuring Accuracy and Dispute Impacts," assesses the accuracy and quality of data collected and maintained by the three major nationwide Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs): Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. In the study, less than one percent of all credit reports examined by participants prompted a dispute that resulted in a credit score adjustment and an increase of a credit score of 25 points or greater.
FICO has studied consumer data from many different sources over the years and has consistently found that the data in credit bureau reports is more accurate than data from other sources, offering exceptionally high value when one is predicting the financial decisions that people will make.
"U.S. Consumer Credit Reports: Measuring Accuracy and Dispute Impacts" mirrors a study conducted in 1991 by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), which drew similar conclusions. The pivotal point made by both studies is that while errors do exist in credit reports (they are inevitable in a strictly voluntary reporting system), the majority of these errors do not involve information crucial to the assessment of credit risk. As a result, errors that have a material impact on credit scores—and by extension, lender decisions—are relatively rare. That’s a big reason why the FICO scores built on this data are such a reliable predictor of payment behavior.
FICO is assisting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its own major study of credit report accuracy, mandated by Congress in the 2003 FACT Act.