How To Dispute Your Credit Report
Your credit report is your report card on how well you have handled your financial transactions. It shows banks, creditors, employers, insurance companies and other institutions how responsible you are with credit, making payments on time, and if you have a history of being late or not paying.
In other words, your credit report tells the world how responsible you are fiscally. Because businesses use the information to make decisions on applications for credit, insurance, employment, and rental agreements, it is imperative that you make sure the information in your report is complete and accurate.
Inconsistencies and errors in your credit report could be the difference between getting approved for a home loan or not qualifying.
In the event that you discover and notice inaccuracies in your report, The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are in place to promote accuracy and ensure the privacy of information in credit reports.
Under the rules of the FCRA, both the credit reporting agency (CRA) and the organization that provided the information to the CRA (Typically a credit card company or other company you have credit with) must correct any errors or incomplete information in your report.
7 Steps to Discover and Correct Mistakes On Your Credit Report
It is important to know that when you do discover a mistake or error that you take action immediately. The reality is that the CRA (credit reporting agencies) and organizations that report to the CRA do not respond as quickly and efficiently as you would expect to make corrections.
- Get a copy of your your credit report from each of the major agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Many of our clients have taken advantage of the 3 Credit Bureau report offered by Experian for a one time fee of $39.99
- When you discover an error, write a letter or submit a dispute to the agency, and let them know what information is inaccurate. You can write them directly or submit one online Below are the links to submit a dispute online-
- If you send a letter, make sure you send by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. This will show for the record that they received your dispute.
- Once they receive your dispute, the FCRA mandates that all CRAs reinvestigate the items in question. The items in question will be investigated, usually within 30 days unless they consider your dispute to be frivolous or fraudulent. The CRA is required to forward all relevant data to the creditor you are disputing. After they receive the information, they must investigate and review all the data and report the results to the CRA.
- If your dispute is valid and the current information is found to be inaccurate, the creditor must notify all nationwide CRAs so that they can correct the inaccurate information on your report. Any disputed information that cannot be verified must be deleted from your file.
- When the investigation is complete, the CRA is required to send you written results along with a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or removed, this information cannot be put back on your report unless the creditor verifies its accuracy. If this occurs the CRA will provide you a written notice with the contact information of the creditor.
- To assure your dispute does not get overlooked, also send information to the creditor about the error. Include all relevant information that supports your dispute. If the information you disputed is inaccurate in your report, the credit card company cannot use it again. And, at your request, the CRA must send notices of corrections to anyone who received your report in the last six months.
Again, once you discover something inaccurate do not hesitate to get this reported right away so that your credit score is accurate. Also when you submit your information to the CRAs and creditors refrain from expressing your emotions and frustrations in your documentation and submissions. Simply submit the relevant facts and data so they can do their due diligence and report back to you in a timely manner.