Sen. Katie Britt joined Sen. Tim Scott to introduce legislation Wednesday aimed at expanding credit access for millions of Americans with limited or non-existent credit histories.
Entitled “The Credit Access and Inclusion Act,” the bill has received bipartisan support and the backing of Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine.
“Hardworking Alabamians and Americans who have demonstrated financial responsibility deserve a pathway to establish and build their credit,” said Britt (R-Montgomery). “This bill takes into consideration the varying circumstances and experiences of individuals who hope to achieve their American Dream.
“Credit reporting is a crucial component in our nation’s economy to establish financial stability for the individual and the lender – this legislation simply incorporates a complete history of on-time payments, like rent and utilities, to reflect an accurate credit score.”
Approximately 26 million Americans are “credit invisible,” meaning they lack credit records or history of traditional payments, such as student loans, car loans, or mortgage payments. Having no credit or thin credit makes economic mobility difficult and hampers the ability to purchase a home, take out student loans, buy a car, or even get a job.
The Credit Access and Inclusion Act allows credit bureaus to collect payments data for services not traditionally factored into credit reporting, such as rent, internet, phone, electricity, and utility payments. Factoring these payments into credit reporting would expand credit histories and generate credit scores for consumers who were previously “unscoreable.”
Scott (R-S.C.), who recently announced his candidacy for president, said Americans shouldn’t have to sacrifice “their dreams” due to bad credit.
“If you pay your bills on time, your credit score should reflect it,” said Scott. “Americans shouldn’t be held back from purchasing a home, financing their education, or pursuing their dreams simply because their on-time payments don’t happen to count toward their credit scores.
“This bill will remove needless barriers and help hardworking Americans gain access to credit.”
Britt and Scott are joined in cosponsoring the bill by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).
U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives last week with Reps. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Michelle Steel (R- Calif.), Young Kim (R-Calif.), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.).
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.