It’s a process to correct errors on your credit report, but it’s doable. The FCRA provides consumers specific rights to dispute inaccurate information and requires bureaus to follow a set of rules. In this article, you’ll learn the steps to clear up inaccuracies.
You’re probably reading this article because you pulled your credit report and noticed an issue or you’ve been denied credit or realized your credit score is low. It can be stressful. Rest assured though, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Research has shown that one in five people have errors in their credit report. It happens and there are things you can do.
First, take a nice deep breath in and a slow breath out. Now, let’s get to correcting those errors.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to request a copy of your credit report.
Request your free credit report
Request your free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com. If you find inaccurate information, you have the right to request changes. The credit bureau will contact the lender/creditor and attempt to verify the accuracy of the records. Read more about how to request your free credit report with all three credit bureaus.
I want you to be wary of “experts” who are selling credit repair services or companies that promise to fix your credit. No one can promise to fix your credit. There is simply a process to follow and you can do the work yourself.
Review your credit report entirely
Take the time to review your credit report for accuracy. Check the personal information to ensure it’s correct such as spelling of your name and the right Social Security Number. Make sure the addresses listed are places you’ve lived.
- Go over any public records: collection accounts, liens, etc.
- Verify each tradeline. You want to ensure all your accounts are listed and the right information is reported. Things to look for: type of account, status (open or closed), date established, credit limit and balance, and repayment history.
Found inaccuracies in one or multiple areas? Now, it’s time to file your disputes.
How to Dispute and Correct Errors
If you find inaccuracies on your credit report you can dispute directly with the credit bureau.
Start the dispute process online
Easily dispute the information directly with the credit bureau. They all have online dispute portals. And keep a log of the disputes you’re making.
- Document each time you communicate (written or verbal) with a lender or collections agent. Note the name of the agent, date, time, and specifics of the conversations you’re having. Maintain copies of these records.
Often times your dispute may not result in your favor. Having documents supporting your claim can help you escalate your dispute request. You’re entitled to appeal the credit bureaus’ decision.
Where to dispute credit report errors online?
When you get your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com there are sections of the website dedicated to dispute inaccurate information.
- Experian – Start a dispute investigation >
- Equifax – Start a dispute investigation >
- TransUnion – Start a dispute investigation > TransUnion Dispute
You can learn more on how to dispute credit report information online.
What happens when the credit bureau suggests you contact the creditor or lender?
At times the credit bureau will verify the accuracy of the information on your credit report. If you disagree, the credit bureau may direct you to contact the creditor or lender directly. Document your conversations and request information for your records.
It takes time when fixing your credit report and removing inaccuracies. Be patient and communicate with your creditors and the credit bureau. Continue to provide documentation or any additional information that supports your claim.