A Good Credit Score

A Good Credit Score

How to Deal with Credit Report Errors

How to Deal with Credit Report Errors

Your credit report is one of the most important identifying documents that exists. Held within that report is the past history of every financial decision that you have made within the last seven years. From that information, potential creditors can tell whether you are a good borrower or a potential risk. Huge life decisions like a mortgage or car loan can be decided based upon what the credit report says. With that in mind, it’s important to always protect yourself against possible errors within the report.

Though it’s not something that you will hear talked about by the credit reporting bureaus, they do make mistakes. For some consumers, the mistake will be large, while others will only experience small errors on their credit report. Whatever the size and importance of the error, it should be cleared up quickly in order to keep your record clean.

There are many different types of mistakes that could occur when the credit agencies produce a report. Most commonly, you will find that these credit bureaus list accounts on your record that do not belong to you. Often, this will be due to the fact that someone out there is lucky enough to share your name. Don’t fret, though, if this or any other problem arises with your report. There is a streamlined process to help you correct the error.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which can be found at the Free Credit Reporting Act, guarantees that creditors must fix any known problems in your credit report. The only catch is that the responsibility to still falls upon you to get the ball rolling on the process.

There are a couple of different ways to file a dispute in regards to your credit report. For the internet savvy consumer, a dispute can be filed quickly and easily using an online system. For those with old school taste, a dispute can be filed by phone or through a certified letter. If you choose to go the route of a letter, then be sure to include information like:

  • Your name, address, social security number, and date of birth.
  • The reason why you have filed the dispute and a formal request for correction to any errors.
  • Name of any company with which you have a dispute and any associated account information with those companies.

It is important to do research and back up your claims before filing a dispute. The burden is on you to prove that there is an error in the report. If you can back up the claim, then the credit agencies must remove that information from your report. If the claim isn’t decided in your favor, then prepare to have that information hang around for seven years.

For most of us, there are enough small blemishes on the credit report without any false ones. If left unattended, these little black eyes can have big consequences down the road. Take care of them as quickly as possible so you don’t get burned on a credit decision when it really matters.

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