WASHINGTON – In response to a letter from U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) in August 2019, three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) have committed to providing free credit monitoring to all active duty service members. This week, the Senators sent a letter to the credit agencies commending them for their attention to this important matter.
“We are pleased that the three largest credit reporting agencies in the United States will offer this important free credit monitoring service to all active duty military members,” the Senators wrote. “This decision will result in broader financial protection for active service members and make a profound difference in the lives of their families.”
A new law, authored by Senators Carper and Coons and enacted in May 2018, was intended to require the CRAs to provide free credit monitoring for all active duty service members. However, final rules released in July by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) only require the service to be provided to service members while they are assigned to a mission away from their duty station. This limited definition could have resulted in service members receiving limited and unequal consumer protection.
Despite the FTC rules, the CRAs have committed to offer the new service to all active duty service members. Equifax, Experian, and Transunion made this commitment following the Senators’ letter on August 1, 2019 encouraging them to provide this new service more broadly than is technically required. The CRAs agreed to utilize the Department of Defense’s recommended definition of active duty status and active status for the National Guard and Reserve for the purpose of carrying out this new law.
“We are grateful the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) have agreed to use the Department of Defense (DoD) definition of active duty service member,” said the National Military Family Association. “Even after nearly 18 years of continuous combat operations, the vast majority of an active duty service member’s time is spent at their ‘usual duty station.’ Continuing to protect the credit of those who serve our country after they return from deployment or temporary duty (TDY) at another location is the right thing to do.”