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Adverse Action Letters | Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

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An adverse action letter explains to an applying individual that they have been denied access to financial-related benefits or employment. The rejecting party is required to send an adverse action letter under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rules including information about how the denied individual may be able to obtain a copy of the consumer report within sixty (60) days.

Letters: By Type (7)

Background Check Adverse Action Letter – For informing individuals that a background check uncovered information which led to adverse action being taken against them.

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument


Credit Report Adverse Action Letter – A post-decision form sent by entities to consumers after deciding to deny/reject them due to their credit score and/or other information found in a consumer credit report.

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument


Employment Adverse Action Letter – For informing job applicants that they were denied employment due to information stemming from a background check.

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument


Landlord (Tenant) Adverse Action Letter – Used for informing applicant tenants that their application to rent was not accepted.

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument


Loan Adverse Action Letter – A three (3) page document sent to individuals that applied for a loan to notify them that a negative action was taken regarding their application.

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument


Mortgage Adverse Action Letter – Sent to individuals that applied for a home loan to inform them they have been denied (or need to accept different loan terms).

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument


Pre-Adverse Action Letter – A form mainly used during the hiring process. Notifies a candidate that information uncovered in a background check could potentially result in their rejection.

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument



What is an Adverse Action Letter?

An adverse action letter is required to be sent under federal law (15 U.S. Code §  1681m) to an individual that has been denied credit, employment, insurance, or other similar types of benefits because of a poor credit score or background history (“consumer report”).

Requirements (FCRA)

After the rejection, the denying party is required to send a letter containing the following:

  • Notice of the rejection (does not need to be specific);
  • Consumer reporting agency contact details:
    • Name
    • Mailing Address
    • Telephone Number
  • A statement that the consumer reporting agency did not make this decision;
  • A statement that the individual has the right to view the consumer report within sixty (60) days; and
  • A statement that the individual has the right to dispute the accuracy of the consumer report in accordance with (15 U.S. Code §  1681i).

Pre-Adverse Action vs Adverse Action

A pre-adverse action letter is sent before the consumer report is generated.

An adverse action letter is sent after the consumer report is generated.

  • Must provide details where the individual may download a copy of the report in accordance with FCRA Requirements.

Understanding the FCRA & ECUA

The two (2) laws that govern consumer reports are the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECUA). These laws hold consumer reporting agencies accountable for how they handle consumer information.


LawsTitle 15, Chapter 41 (Fair Credit Reporting Act)

Originally passed in 1970, the FCRA ensures consumers have the means of obtaining (and disputing) information that is collected on them. The law also protects who can view one’s report, limiting it to the individual themselves and entities and persons with a necessary and justifiable reason for doing so. It covers all of the major types of consumer reports including background, criminal, and credit checks.


Laws15 USC Ch. 41, Sub. Ch. IV

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act applies to both businesses and consumers, providing transparency in regard to the credit scoring process. This aids in helping consumers to understand the factors that went into their score as well as the exact reasons they were denied credit.

How to Send

An adverse action letter must be sent within a “reasonable amount of time” after the decision has been made (15 U.S. Code §  1681im(b)(1)).

Step 1 – Write the Adverse Action Letter

Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument

All the appropriate fields must be completed, and it is a good gesture for the

Include the letter requirements and it is always a good gesture for the rejecting party to personally sign the document (although this is not mandatory).

Step 2 – Send via First (1st) Class Mail

Send via USPS First (1st) Class Mail or equivalent to the individual. The party sending the letter may choose to send a certified copy (with return receipt) so the sender has proof the receiving party got the letter (this is recommended but not a requirement).