How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

You are on the road to financial empowerment. You have printed out your spending chart. You have cut back on impulse spending. You know at least 5 ways to improve your credit score. The birds are chirping. The sun is shining and you look like you’re the happy little stranger in the middle of a Brady Bunch episode because your latest financial decisions have been uncharacteristically positive. Then is happens…(insert screeching sounds here)… something pops up on your credit history that is inaccurate. What do you do?

What is on Your Credit Report?

Your credit report reveals how you spend, the type of loans you have, your revolving credit, how you pay your bills, etc. This information is then used to decide whether you are approved for a credit card, loan, car purchase, insurance, home purchase and rental, and even employment. For potential employers, your credit report is used as a measure of your level of responsibility and can be a part of the deciding factor of whether you are offered the job or not.

How Credit Report Errors Are Made?

Mistakes can appear on your credit report for several reasons. Clerical errors are common because people make mistakes. Perhaps numbers were transposed, your handwriting was not legible, or the unfortunate situation that you have become a victim of identity theft. Check your credit report periodically for these types of errors.

How to Resolve Reporting Errors for FREE

Contact the credit bureau in writing, highlighting the information to be investigated. You will need to submit supporting documents such as a copy of your driver’s license if the inaccuracy involves a name change, change of address, or dispute of a utility bill. If your dispute is regarding your social security number, you will need to present a copy of your social security card and/or a copy of your W2. If you have your credit report number handy, this is the time to get it. Submit your credit report number and copies (not originals) of documents to be reviewed. The Federal Trade Commission recommends you “send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested,” so you can document what the credit reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures. If you used Experian, the fastest way to challenge a dispute is online. Generally, disputes are resolved within 30 days but depending on the nature of the dispute, resolutions can take up to 45 days. If you find information on your credit report that is not accurate or doesn’t belong to you, please contact the credit bureau which produced the report.


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