CFPB Market Snapshot: Third-Party Debt Collections Tradeline Reporting

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The CFPB Market Snapshot: Third-Party Debt Collections Tradeline Reporting (Report) was published on July 18, 2019, and is intended to provide an overview of both debt buyer tradelines and non-buyer debt collections tradelines based on information taken from the CFPB’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP).  The CCP is a national representative sample of nearly 5 million de-identified credit records during the period 2004 to 2018.  Details in the Report reveal definitions of “tradelines” and “third-party debt collectors”.  Included in the Report is a list of findings derived from the data contained in the CCP.  The findings are only descriptive and the data used does not suggest any conclusion on the cause of the findings.

Some of the findings contained in the Report include:

  • More than one-in-four consumers (28 percent) with a credit report in the CCP in 2018 had at least one third-party collections tradeline on their file. 
  • More than three-out-of-four third-party collections tradelines are for non-financial debt with more than half (58 percent) of these tradelines for medical debt and another 20 percent for telecommunications or utilities debt. Positive payment information is generally not furnished for such non-financial debt.  
  • Tradelines from debt buyers, which tend to be for financial services debt, are more likely than those from other collectors to show a new instance of consumer disagreement with a completed Fair Credit Reporting Act dispute investigation.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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