How to Dispute Your Credit Reports in 5 Steps
If you find a mistake on your credit report, you have the right to request the correction of an error from the reporting agency. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to dispute the information on your credit report if you can provide evidence that shows you’re right (and shows the reporting agency you’re serious about your dispute). There is no cost or fee for making a request and the reporting agency must forward your dispute to the originator of the information that is in dispute. The whole dispute process can take from one to two months.
Review the Credit Report Closely.
Because accurate information is so important, you should also know how to read and understand your credit report. You can get a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You can order this report online or by phone or through the mail. You can identify incorrect, outdated, or incomplete information by carefully reviewing the information.
Be sure to check the following on your credit report:
- Personal information (name, address, social security number, etc.
- Identifying information (including your credit accounts, if you have any)
- Your credit history (the dates of loans, credit limits, etc.)
- Inquiries (from when you applied for credit)
Step 1: Get a Free Copy Of Your Credit Reports
Step 2: Decide if you need a professional credit repair service
I have been rejected for credit jobs I know I can handle because I have a youthful bankruptcy on my credit report. Years of housekeeping from family members, having a car vandalized with graffiti, and having my football helmet knocked off my head repeatedly actually damaged my credit score.
A few common reasons that we hear why people do not feel comfortable doing the dispute process on their own are:
Fear of a fraudulent reprisal because it is a legally binding document and can be used in a court of law.
Social Security number, driver’s license, or date of birth might be on the credit report.
Fearing that employers will be able to see their credit information and negatively view them because of poor credit score.
Not sure how to do the process because credit reports are not easy to understand.
Fear of looking stupid because they don’t feel they are “credit worthy.”
Fear of involving the police or looking like a fool asking for obvious errors to be removed.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons for hiring a professional credit repair service. However, there is no reason to be afraid to dispute an item on your own credit report that is incorrect.
Step 3: Explain the Errors to the Credit Bureaus In Writing
In your dispute letter, you will reference your credit report copy and identify what you believe are errors. To ensure the credit bureau investigates your claim, your letter should also include evidence to support your dispute. Be sure to include copies of relevant documents, such as receipts, as evidence.
Step 4: Inform the Company Who Made the Error
Once you’ve completed the dispute process and the credit reporting company corrected any mistakes on your credit report, it’s time to inform the company who made the error.
First, confirm that the credit reporting company removed the negative item, meaning any late payments, collection accounts, public records, etc.
If the credit reporting company is unclear whether the creditor contacted has removed the negative item, you can contact that creditor directly. This is the only way to ensure it’s removed for sure.
After requesting that the creditor remove the negative item from your credit report, the creditor will attempt to remove it from their records by following the process below.
Note: Not all creditors have the ability to remove a late payment from your credit report. Creditors that subcontract their collection accounts to other companies, for example, have no control over what shows up on your report. In these cases, you need to complete Step 5 to ensure this negative item doesn’t come back to haunt you.
To have the negative item removed from your credit report, the creditor needs to complete the following:
Send you a letter with an original document attesting that the item has been removed from your credit report.
Send this original document to make it easier for you to provide proof to the credit reporting company in Step 5.
Step 5: Consider credit monitoring
I recommend signing up for a credit monitoring and identity theft protection alert service for about five years. The service will be able to help you if the thief opens up new lines of credit in your name. I recommend signing up for a credit monitoring and identity theft protection alert service for about five years. The service will be able to help you if the thief opens up new lines of credit in your name.
Fixing Credit Report Errors is Crucial
One of the ways people often get into debt is by using a credit card or loan that they cannot afford to pay. It’s easy to get into credit card debt if you don’t keep an eye on how you spend money and if you use your credit card without thinking. Financial woes will not just affect you; they’ll also affect your credit score. The higher your credit score, the easier it will be for you to get approved for a mortgage or car loan in the future, and the lower your interest rate will be.
What is “Good” Credit Anyway?
If you are like most people, you’ve probably heard about “good” credit and “bad” credit. However, it’s likely that you don’t really know what this is all about.
While your credit history is important, what is really important is the information that is included in your credit report. That’s because it can affect your ability to get credit, borrow money and even get a job.
As a result, we’ll be talking about the items that can be included in your credit report and ways to dispute it with the credit bureau.