Oh Crap! I Screwed Up….How to Fix an Error on Your Credit Report

Joseph Meyer
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Checking Your Credit Report for Errors

Using credit responsibly and following the simple advice below will help you to safeguard your score.

Check your credit report. Order your free yearly credit report from the major credit reporting agencies once a year. Their Web sites include Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This will give you a chance to review the report for any errors. The only accurate information you can trust is what is listed on your credit report.

Know your annual percentage rate (APR). You can earn points with a credit card company by understanding APR. This is a measure of how much it costs to carry a balance vs. how much interest you earn. The higher the APR, the more it will cost to carry a balance during the course of a whole year.

Read the fine print. The details of your credit agreement are in your credit agreement. Although you may have read the terms and conditions, make sure you understand all of them including how interest rates are calculated and how late fees may be assessed.

Sign up for credit protection services. Many credit card companies offer consumer credit protection services that are usually included at no extra charge when you sign up for a new credit card.

Consider a balance transfer. Transferring a balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate (if you can) can help you save money every month. But make sure you choose a credit card with a stable and low interest rate and be sure to transfer the balance before the introductory period ends.

Disputing an Item on Your Credit Report

Having an error on your credit report could cost you your dream job or could prevent you from getting a loan, mortgage, or new credit card. And if you were denied for credit, you’re not alone – sometimes credit card companies or lenders simply make mistakes.

So how do you get the credit reporting agency to correct this error on your credit report?

You have two options:

{1}. Contact the company themselves and get them to agree to remove the error.
{2}. File a dispute directly with the credit reporting agency.

The first option is the easiest, but it’s also more time consuming. If you contact the company, they have 30 days to investigate and respond. However, if you file a dispute directly with the credit reporting agency, they have 30 days to investigate and remove the information.

The credit reporting agency will generally put a “frozen” notice on your report as they’re investigating the issue to alert potential lenders that the information on your report is being looked into. This can help stop any inaccurate negative information on your credit report from being reported to other creditors.

Sample Dispute Letter