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Your credit reports are like report cards that show how good (or bad) you are at managing credit. Creditors use your credit reports to determine your credit risk and to decide whether you qualify for products like credit cards and loans.
A study by the FTC in 2012 found that 5% of consumers found errors on one of three credit reports from the bureaus.
Why is this important? Negative errors on your report could impact your ability to qualify for affordable products such as mortgages and car loans. Not good!
If you find errors on your credit reports, here are ways to dispute them:
Step 1: Grab all three credit reports.
The first step is getting each of your credit reports to review. We all have three credit reports from the three bureaus — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Each of the credit reports can have different data which is why you want to pull all of them. You can get each one of your reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Step 2: Gather your proof.
If you find errors, put together back-up to prove why each item should be removed from your credit report. Supporting documents could include statements, agreements, and other paperwork. Make a copy of these documents for the next step.
Step 3: Write the dispute letter and mail it.
Draft a letter for each credit bureau that is reporting inaccurate information. List out all the facts in your letter and explain how the report needs to be corrected.
Include copies of your proof in the package. Be sure to keep the original copies of all the information you’re sending. You may even want to consider putting a copy of your free credit report in the package as well and circle what needs to be changed.
Here are the credit bureau addresses and phone numbers:
P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016
P.O. Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 4500 Allen, TX 75013
In addition to sending the letter to the bureaus, you should submit your dispute package to the company that has reported the inaccurate information.
Would you prefer to get help for this process? CreditRepair.com can do a personalized consultation and evaluation of your reports to identify inaccurate negative items that may be hurting your credit. The best part is that the company will then dispute the items on your behalf. Learn more here.
Step 5: Wait 30 days.
The review process can take about a month. The credit bureau will notify the original creditor or entity reporting the error that there’s a dispute.
The company reporting the information is required to investigate the dispute unless they determine it’s “frivolous”. You’ll get the results of the investigation in writing. If changes are made, you’ll get a free copy of your credit report with the adjustments.
You can also request to have the amended credit report sent to anyone that has performed a credit inquiry on you within the last six months.
Keeping records is important
Mistakes can happen — you should keep financial records to protect yourself if errors are made that affect you negatively. Monitor your credit reports closely to ensure that you pick up on any mistakes before they start hurting you. And if you need help in the process, check out what www.CreditRepair.com has to offer.
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