[This is one of several articles on LFLegal celebrating the 33d anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 2023. Read the first article about accessible digital healthcare.]
In the article here readers will find a media announcement issued by the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the three nationwide credit reporting agencies in the United States. The agencies have renewed their commitment, first made over fifteen years ago, to provide annual credit reports and related information in accessible formats on the joint website called AnnualCreditReport.com.
This crucial financial information will be available online in conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA and in braille, large print, and audio formats. Through 2023 members of the public in the United States may obtain a free credit report once per week. The number of free credit reports may change in 2024.
This announcement is the result of a renewed collaboration between the credit reporting agencies, the ACB, and five blind consumers. These parties first worked together in Structured Negotiation in 2008. The announcement below, also the result of Structured Negotiation, builds on the strong and productive relationships forged well over a decade ago.
July 26, 2023 is the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Law Office of Lainey Feingold celebrates the disabled advocates, disability rights groups, and the public and private sector organizations that have turned to Structured Negotiation to help make the promise of the ADA a reality across many sectors and issues since the first Structured Negotiation public press announcement in 1999.
Congratulations to the credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — for their collaboration leading to the press release posted here.
Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies and the American Council of the Blind Announce Updated Initiative to Provide Accessible Online Credit Reports
Braille, Large Print, and Audio Versions Also Available
Alexandria, Virginia (July 13, 2023) – The Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies (NCRAs) reaffirmed their commitment to provide access to consumer credit reports for people who are blind or have low vision. The initiative, crafted with the American Council of the Blind and several blind consumers, will help improve the experiences of individuals who cannot read a standard print credit report.
Under the plan announced today, Equifax (NYSE: EFX), Experian (EXPN.L), and TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) will make online credit reports and related information more accessible for people with visual impairments through their jointly operated website, AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the official site to help consumers obtain free credit reports.
Today’s initiative includes a renewed commitment to make credit reports available in braille, large print, and audio formats this summer.
We are thrilled with the renewed commitment of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to provide accessible online credit information and large print, braille, and audio formats. This initiative allows people with visual impairments to independently monitor and review their credit reports as all members of the public should. These are critical tools for obtaining financial services, managing financial health, avoiding identity theft and protecting the privacy of our financial information Dan Spoone Interim Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind.
As an industry, we are committed to providing a more inclusive financial ecosystem. Providing the tools that help all consumers live their financial best, and improving access to credit reports for the visually impaired, is another step that we are taking to help people better position themselves for strong financial futures. Aparna Shah, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Services at Equifax
Experian is committed to ensuring all consumers have access to quality credit products and services and driving a more inclusive credit economy. We are pleased to continue improving access for consumers with visual impairments with these important tools.Wil Lewis, Global Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Talent Acquisition Officer at Experian
TransUnion is committed to empowering visually impaired consumers with tools to manage their credit and take control of their financial future, and today’s announcement is another step forward. Inclusion and belonging are at the heart of our work, which is why we are pleased to partner on this important initiative. Mike Doherty, Senior Vice President, Consumer Solutions, TransUnion
Today’s initiative includes a renewed commitment to provide credit reports in braille, large print, and audio formats, and to design online credit reports and related web pages in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA, issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The guidelines help ensure that web sites are accessible to persons with disabilities.
The credit reporting agencies first worked with ACB over 15 years ago when free credit reports were first rolled out in the United States. ACB President Deb Cook Lewis commented that
We appreciate the three Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies and their collaboration over many years and the Structured Negotiation process that brought us to today’s announcement.
Braille, large print, and audio credit reports are available to people who are blind or low vision by calling 1-877-322-8228. Accessible online credit reports are available through annualcreditreport.com.
About American Council of the Blind (ACB)
American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and low vision Americans throughout the country, with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. ACB is dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Its members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about ACB can be found by visiting the ACB website.
At Equifax (NYSE: EFX), we believe knowledge drives progress. As a global data, analytics, and technology company, we play an essential role in the global economy by helping financial institutions, companies, employers, and government agencies make critical decisions with greater confidence. Our unique blend of differentiated data, analytics, and cloud technology drives insights to power decisions to move people forward. Headquartered in Atlanta and supported by nearly 14,000 employees worldwide, Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. For more information, visit Equifax.com.
Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.
We have 21,700 people operating across 30 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity. With corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, we are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Learn more at www.experianplc.com or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.
Experian and the Experian marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian and its affiliates. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
TransUnion is a global information and insights company with over 12,000 associates operating in more than 30 countries. We make trust possible by ensuring each person is reliably represented in the marketplace. We do this with a Tru™ picture of each person: an actionable view of consumers, stewarded with care. Through our acquisitions and technology investments we have developed innovative solutions that extend beyond our strong foundation in core credit into areas such as marketing, fraud, risk and advanced analytics. As a result, consumers and businesses can transact with more confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good® — and it leads to economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for millions of people around the world. Visit the TransUnion website
Dan Spoone, Interim Executive Director
For The Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies