When it comes to purchasing a new home, most prospective buyers realize just how closely their credit score is tied to a financing decision. But a new report out by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that only one in five people actually obtain a copy of their credit report each year, and many Americans are overlooking their credit score altogether.

Richard Cordray, CFPB’s director, notes, “Credit reports on a consumer’s financial history and behavior can determine eligibility for credit cards, car loans, and home mortgage loans – and they often affect how much a consumer is going to pay for that loan. The industry is critical in our economy. Without credit reporting, many consumers would likely be unable to get credit.”

In 2011, there were between 32 and 38 million disputed items on consumer credit reports. And when consumers did dispute items their credit report housed, the CFPB found that nearly 40% of the disputes were in regard to debt in collections. The correlation between a good credit score and the ability to obtain a mortgage is indisputable. A recent Ellie Mae origination insight report, which represents 20% of all U.S. mortgage originations, found that the average FICO score for a closed loan in October was 750, while the average denied loan had a score of 706.