Correcting The Record: Your Credit Score
Having errors on your credit report can be frustrating and stressful, but it’s important to know that you have the power to dispute them. The first step is requesting a free copy of your credit reports from all three major bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can do this at annualcreditreport.com. Review those reports carefully for any inaccuracies, such as an incorrect account balance, incorrect small business loan account, or account status information.
If you find an error on one of your reports — whether it’s something small like an inaccurate address or something big like someone using your identity fraudulently — contact the credit bureau directly. You can do so by either filling out an online form or writing a letter and sending it via regular mail (email can be unreliable). Make sure to note which items are inaccurate and include supporting documentation if possible (things like bills showing payment history). If you’re concerned about any findings, contact a bureau, state your discrepancy, request what dispute documentation is needed, and notify them before you send them anything confidential.
How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
To dispute a credit report, you don’t need a lawyer. You can dispute credit report errors on your own, and even get help from the company that provided the information. If you dispute an error, the company will investigate and report back to the credit bureaus. If you’re disputing an item listed as “paid,” but you think it’s actually a mistake, send copies of any proof that supports your claim along with a letter explaining how the item should be removed from your credit report. For example, if there were two payments made on a single bill in one month, send information showing that both bills were paid by arranging a payment plan with your creditor at least 30 days before they were due; or if there was an error on your bill because of fraud or identity theft, send copies of evidence proving this such as police reports and copies of correspondence between you and law enforcement officials regarding these incidents.
Don’t Delay: Contact the Credit Bureau Today
To help speed up the process, call and talk with representatives at each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). The key thing here is making sure that you take action quickly; if you wait too long between finding out about an error on your report and disputing it, there may not be enough time for creditors who want proof from third parties like employers or landlords before making decisions about whether or not someone should get a loan or lease an apartment…and those negative effects could last for years!