Disputing Credit Report Errors – All You Need to Know

Credit reports are critical for your financial planning and future. These reports can impact your ability to purchase a house, take out a loan, or have a multitude of other consequences. As such, it is vital that you properly manage your credit. A key piece of proper management involves checking for and disputing errors in your credit report. It is important that you understand how to identify errors and know how to submit disputes as necessary. Read on for everything you need to know about disputing credit report errors.

WHERE MIGHT YOU FIND ERRORS?

There are a number of different places where you may find errors on your credit report. Be sure to look out for these ones in particular:

  • Mistaken personal information – name misspelling and incorrect address information may suggest that you have been mistaken with another person
  • Account inconsistencies – closed accounts wrongly listed as open can hurt your credit utilization ratio, and listed accounts that do not belong to you may suggest your identity has been stolen
  • Incorrect payment history – inaccurate reports of late or missed payments can hurt your credit score
  • Stale credit limits or balances owed – be sure all information is the most up to date available to prevent inaccurate credit utilization reports

If you find errors in any of the areas listed above (or elsewhere in your credit report), be sure to submit a dispute to your credit bureau immediately.

HOW DO YOU DISPUTE BY MAIL?

If you spot credit report errors, you can submit disputes by mail. This will involve communicating with your relevant credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion). You should take the following steps:

  • Write a formal letter to your credit bureau describing the error you discovered, and be sure to include your contact information
  • Notify the furnisher of the erroneous information (bank, credit company, credit union, debt collection agency)
  • Wait 30-45 days and check the results of their investigation for accuracy
  • Check for the updated credit report and follow up as needed

In addition to disputing credit report errors by mail, you can also submit disputes online for greater efficiency and convenience.

HOW DO YOU DISPUTE ONLINE?

You can also submit disputes online via the following steps:

  • Find the Online Dispute portal of your relevant credit bureau
  • Get started with the basic requirements of your specific credit bureau
  • Equifax – Enter the information required to identify your credit file
  • Experian – Select the “start a new dispute online” box
  • TransUnion – Create an account
  • Follow the subsequent step-by-step instructions
  • Wait 30-45 days
  • Check for the updated credit report and follow up as needed

Whether you choose to dispute credit reports online or by mail, be sure to monitor your submission closely and follow up if there are any issues after the credit bureau has investigated your claim.

CONCLUSION

Once you have corrected the credit report errors, it may take weeks or even months to see a credit score change. Your credit score may not change at all, however, if there are other problems unrelated to the errors. So if this is the case, be sure to assess alternative strategies to improve your credit score!

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