According to one credit expert, consumers around the country should look beyond the normal credit score when trying to obtain a loan and instead seek out alternative consumer credit data to show that they are responsible. In an article for The Real Deal, Kenneth R. Harney writes that most well-known credit rating systems fail to take into account on-time payments such as monthly rents, utilities and other bills due every month. He further states that few realize they are given rights under the law to help highlight the credit-worthy behavior. "Now for the best-kept secret: Under federal law, these unreported accounts need not go to waste," Harney wrote for the publication. "Mortgage applicants are guaranteed the right to bring evidence of unreported on-time payments to lenders, and they in turn are required to consider those records in making a decision on granting a home loan - provided homebuyers request it. If a loan officer refuses, he or she could be open to legal penalties." There are things that both consumers and companies should be aware of when it comes to figuring out a credit situation. People who call member agencies of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling will be able to get information regarding rights and responsibilities.