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How to remove errors from your credit report
How to remove errors from your credit report: It sounds daunting but we have broken it down into it’s most basic parts to help you tackle your most frustrating credit problems.
It is a process you can do yourself, without the expense of an agency. Mistakes or outdated information can cause your credit score to be lower than it should be. This means you could end up paying more for a credit card, loan or even a security deposit. Taking the time to dispute the errors from your credit pays off in spades.
What types of credit report errors should you dispute?
Errors that can really cause harm to your credit include:
- Payments reported late when you paid them on time, or are still open if you closed them (incorrect account status)
- Account balance and credit limit errors
- Identity related errors such as different name, wrong phone number, address or your info merged with someone else’s credit
- Accounts you don’t recognize
- Negative information that is more than seven years old (all derogatory marks must be removed after seven years)
The process to remove errors is pretty simple, and it’s free.
The process to remove errors from your credit report is pretty simple but it does take a bit of time and follow through. Follow the steps below to make things right and help your credit score.
Check all three credit bureaus to find errors — it’s free
Yes, check all three major credit bureaus— Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Why? Because the loans and cards you apply for don’t use the same bureau, and it’s important to keep each credit report in its best condition. Scan through your reports looking for errors. You’ll most likely see differences between the reports. If you spot an error on one report, it’ll likely be on another. This is important to look for because you need to remove them from each credit bureau separately.
There is NO CHARGE to dispute a credit report. This process is free and it doesn’t hurt your credit score either. The only cost to you is your time. Which is pretty good considering the effort can help you improve your credit report, which can improve your credit score, and potentially lower the cost of fees and interest you pay on loans, credit cards, a future home mortgage and more.
How to dispute credit report errors by credit bureau
We highly recommend you file disputes online. You’ll need to create an account, but it’s pretty straight forward to follow the prompts. This is the fastest way to dispute an error, but if you prefer, you can also mail a letter or call.
|Online||TransUnion dispute||Experian online||Equifax online portal|
|Mail a letter||TransUnion LLC, Consumer Dispute Center, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016||Experian National Consumer Assistance Center, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013||Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374-0256|
|Call||Transunion dispute 800-916-8800||Experian dispute 866-200-6020||Equifax dispute 866-349-5191|
Get your reference materials together before filling out the form
You’ll need a few reference materials to complete the online form and dispute an error. Make sure you have the following pieces of information handy:
- Drivers license or passport
- Social Security Number and date of birth
- Current address (an ones going back two years)
- Copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement with your name and address
- Copy of your credit report (and file number if you are following up)
Consider contacting the furnisher as well
Furnisher is a fancy name for the company that provided you the credit and made the error, like the credit card company, lender or bank. The Federal Trade Commission recommends you contact them in writing, in addition to the credit bureau. When you notify them, it may cause them proactively to stop reporting the inaccurate information. Look for the address listed on your credit report. If there is no address, contact the company to ask for one.
Give it about 45 days for the credit bureau to respond
Depending on the number of disputes, the credit bureau may take up to 30 days to investigate your after receiving your documentation and request. They are required to report back to you within 5 days after completing it.
- If the credit bureau AGREES with you
If the credit bureau agrees with you, then they’ll fix the error and send you an updated copy of your credit report. If you request it, they’ll also have to communicate the correction to anyone who’s asked for your credit report in the last six months.
- If the credit bureau DISAGREES
If the credit bureau disagrees with you, then they’ll inform you of this and refuse to remove or correct the mistake. If you do not agree with their assessment then your next step is to report it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Once again, you’ll need to provide copies of proof. This is more or less a last resort, so better to get your best argument ready the first time with supporting proof.
Make sure to verify the changes to your credit report
Make sure to get copies of your updated credit reports to confirm the error was corrected. If you don’t see the update after a couple of months, then contact the credit bureau and furnisher to make sure they have the right account information and are on it. You’ve worked hard to dispute the credit report error and get the mistake corrected. Make sure it’s there.
Protect your credit report
You’ve worked hard to build credit — or are on an intentional journey to improve it! It pays to monitor your credit reports, and if you find an error, dispute it immediately (it’s a good practice to review your credit reports annually). The dispute process isn’t complicated, and by keeping your score in its best possible standing, you’ll save money along the way, including better rates on things like loans, credit cards, and rent.
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