How to Dispute a Mistake on Your Credit Report
As a financially responsible individual, you should be checking your credit regularly. If all goes well, your credit card statements and report hold no surprises. Sometimes, though, you may find a mistake. When this happens, you’ll need to dispute the error to fix your score officially. With these steps, you can know how to dispute a mistake on your credit report.
Credit report mistakes.
Most credit report errors can be traced back to clerical mistakes, though some are caused by a lack of action on your part, or by criminal activity.
To avoid credit report errors, use your legal name on every line of credit you open. Remove your name from any accounts you are no longer associated with. And have all of your creditors report your accounts to the credit bureaus. It’s also crucial that you monitor your score to find mistakes as quickly as possible.
How to dispute an error.
If you’ve spotted an error on your credit report, follow these three steps to fix your credit:
Step 1: File a dispute with each of the major credit bureaus
In your written dispute, identify each disputed item in your report, explain why you are disputing these items and ask that the errors be deleted or corrected. Include your full contact information, as well as copies of any documents that support your claim.
You can also file your disputes by mail to Equifax and TransUnion; Experian currently accepts online disputes only. If filing by mail, it’s best to send your letter via certified mail with a requested return receipt.
Step 2: Contact the creditor.
After you’ve contacted each bureau, also reach out to the creditor linked to the error. This step isn’t necessary, but it may speed up the correction process.
Follow the guidelines above and include all relevant information and documentation. Let the creditor know you’ve also contacted the credit bureaus, as they’ll want to add a copy of your dispute if they report their findings to the bureaus.
Step 3: Follow up
Within 30 days of filing your disputes, the credit bureaus and creditor will contact you. If all goes well, they fix the error and your credit.
If one of the credit bureaus or a creditor does not resolve the error in your favor, you can ask them to include a copy of your dispute in your file and all future credit reports for a small fee. You can also consider hiring a lawyer to help you contest the report.
With these steps, you now know how to dispute an error on your credit report. Always monitor your score and be vigilant about correcting errors. The payoff can affect your financial wellness for years to come.