Bill Proposed in House to Allow Furnishing of Utility, Phone Bills to Consumers’ Credit Reports

At a time when regulators are trying hard to remove items from the credit reports of individuals, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would allow payment information for utility bills, telecommunications, and public housing authorities to furnish information as a means of helping the 26 million individuals who do not have any credit history with one of the major credit reporting agencies.

The bill, H.R. 8985, is called the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2022, was introduced by Rep. French Hill [R-Ark.]. It is a companion bill to one that was introduced in the Senate last year by Sen. Tim Scott [R-S.C.]. H.R. 8985 has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services for its consideration. Another version of the bill was introduced back in 2015 and passed in the House of Representatives, but did not make it out of the Senate.

“As a former community banker, I understand how access to credit can open doors to opportunities like homeownership, yet too many central Arkansans are denied affordable credit opportunities because they don’t have a traditional credit payment history,” said Rep. Hill, in a statement. “My bill levels the playing field by allowing for additional data, such as utility and phone payments, to be reported to determine credit worthiness so that millions of hardworking Americans get credit for bills they are already paying.”

The press release announcing the introduction of the legislation included statements of support from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, TransUnion, Experian, the National Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

The bill would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act and allow energy, utility, and telecommunications companies to furnish information about payments made by consumers to the credit reporting agencies. Those companies would not be allowed to furnish information about consumers being late or having an outstanding balance if a payment plan or deferred payment arrangement has been made between the company and the individual.

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