Fair Credit Reporting Act and Check Cashing Services

When Certegy Check Services settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $3.5 million, it was reported by the FTC (dated 8/15/2013) as its second largest civil penalty in history for an action involving the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As a result I think it becomes much more important for check cashing companies and their like to be more attentive to their potential responsibilities and obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a law that has generally been on the books for over 40 years.

For background, the Fair Credit Reporting Act was originally signed into law in 1970. It is a law whose original focus may have been mostly on credit bureaus in an era where there were hundreds of small credit bureaus. However, now after the hundreds of small and medium sized credit bureaus have been essentially merged into and absorbed by the three largest credit bureau systems, there are newer targets for the law that protects consumers in credit transactions. These are all the other credit reporting re-sellers and consumer reporting agencies that exist today such as the mortgage reporting companies, tenant screening services, employment background checking, and other companies that collect and distribute credit related information such as public record information, medical payment histories, check writing history, and insurance claims.

All these types of companies better beware because they are likely CRA’s as defined by the law and subject to the full force of the Fair Credit Reporting Act including some specific areas Certegy was alleged to have violated.

Fair Credit Reporting Act Sections:

Section 607 (b) – Accuracy of report — the CRA must follow reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of the information

Section 611 – Procedure in the case of disputed accuracy —  If disputed, the CRA must conduct a reasonable investigation whether or not the reported information is accurate, and then comply with other provisions to report the results of the investigation to the consumer and to other users of the information.

Section 612 (a) (I) (C) – Free annual file disclosure — A nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency must have a streamlined procedure in place for consumers to obtain their free annual file disclosure, including a toll free phone number for such request.

Section 623 – Duty of Furnishers — A furnisher of information to CRA’s must maintain  reasonable procedures to ensure the data they provide is accurate and complete .

For a complete copy of the law with links to the different sections, see our page on the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

There is more information available on the Certegy website, including an affidavit form you may download to alert them of stolen, forged, counterfeit, or lost checks.

To dispute an item in your personal file at Certegy, or to request a copy of your free annual file disclosure, write them at:

Certegy  Check Services, Inc.
PO Box 30296 Tampa,
FL 33630-3296

Or you can request your free annual file disclosure by phoning Certegy at: 866-543-6315.