How to Fix a Credit Report Error
Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are three credit reporting bureaus that collect information shared with you by your creditors and list this information in personal consumer reports. That information is bought by companies and can have a profound impact on whether you get new credit, are approved to lease an apartment or even qualify for a new job. With so much information gathered there is always a good chance that you will find a mistake. When a mistake is found, you need to take action and have a correction made.
1. Review your credit reports. All three credit reporting bureaus make your consumer credit reports available for free. You can obtain these reports for free once annually through the AnnualCreditReport.com website. Obtain your credit reports, review each one and if mistakes are found, circle that information for future reference.
2. Notify the appropriate credit reporting bureau. A mistake on one credit report does not mean that the same mistakes will be found on your two other reports. In any case, you need to notify the credit bureau in writing to ask them to investigate the error. Contact information is on each bureau’s website. Your letter should include your personal information such as your name, address, contact phone number and your Social Security Number. State which items in your report are incorrect and explain why that information is being disputed. Attach a copy of the page in your report where the mistake can be found. Ask the credit reporting bureau to remove or correct the disputed information.
3. Notify the creditor of the mistake. You can also contact the creditor or company that supplied the wrong information to the credit reporting bureau in the first place. The company may have confused your name with someone else’s or the information may be outdated. Ask to have it corrected and that further notifications to the credit bureaus cease.
4. Wait for a change. It will take at least 30 days and up to 90 days for your credit reports to reflect the correct information. Once sufficient time has passed, you may be allowed to obtain a corrected copy of your credit report at no charge to you. Your state’s laws determine whether that is so.
Credit mistakes can hurt you by driving down your credit score. A low credit score can deny you of new credit or force new or existing interest rates to climb. Always keep tabs on your credit and dispute discovered errors immediately.
See Also — 3 Signs to Spot Fraud in Your Credit Report