DISPUTING ERRORS ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT
Your credit report includes personal information
about yourself including where you live, your bill
payment history, whether you have ever filed for
bankruptcy, ever been sued, or if you have ever been
arrested. All of this information is sold to your
creditors, employers, insurance companies and anyone else
that is requesting your credit report.
It is strongly advised that you
get a copy of your credit report at least once a year!
-- The information on your credit report will affect
whether or not you are approved for any type of loan or
credit. It will also affect interest rates and how much
money you are able to borrow.
-- You need to make
sure that all of the information on your credit report is
100% correct before you apply for any type of loan or
credit, buy a house, purchase insurance or apply for a
-- You need to protect yourself against identity
theft. This is when someone steals your personal
information (i.e. social security number and/or name,
etc.) to perform fraud. Specifically, opening up credit
card accounts, applying for loans, etc.. Identity thieves
obviously don't pay the bills associated with any of the
accounts that they have opened, therefore wrecking your
Do you know
how to read your credit report?
** Misinformation can hurt your chances of getting any
sort of credit, insurance, apartment rental or even a job
that you are seeking.
How do I correct errors on my credit report?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act, otherwise known as the
FCRA, states that it is the responsibility of the
company/person reporting the information to fix any
incorrect or outdated information on your credit report.
Removing misinformation or outdated info
In writing, tell the credit reporting company what
information is wrong. List all of your supporting facts.
Clearly state that you want this information removed.
Send them copies of any paperwork that support your
claim, i.e. paid bills, cashed checks, etc.. The
originals are for you and your records. In your letter,
make sure that you provide all of your personal
information including your SSN, your name, your address
and your date of birth. Make sure that you send your
letter via certified mail with 'return receipt
requested'. Keep copies of your letter. Learn more about
how to properly write a dispute letter. It may be
necessary for you to write a
follow-up dispute letter as well.
The credit reporting company will have thirty days to
launch their own investigation regarding your claim. They
are also obligated to forward all of the information you
provided them to the company that supplied the erroneous
data. Upon receiving your dispute claim from the credit
bureau, the company must do their own investigation and
report their findings to the credit reporting company. If
your claim is found to be valid, the information provider
must alert all three of the credit reporting agencies so
that your file can be updated with the correct data.
Upon completion of the analysis, the credit reporting
company must provide you with a free copy of your credit
report with the updated information. The free report is
not the same as the free annual report you are entitled
You can also request that the credit reporting
company sends notifications of your updated credit report
to anyone that has requested your report in the last six
months. Copies can be sent to anyone that requested your
report within two years for reasons of employment .
Sometimes, your dispute will not go as you plan.
Resulting in the non-removal of the misinformation from
your file. If this is the case, you can request a copy of
your dispute letter to be included in your credit report
file. You can also have your dispute letter sent to
anyone that pulled your credit in the past year. This
will likely cost you a fee charged by the credit bureaus.
Time is the only guarantee of the removal of bad
information. Any sort of negative mark on your credit
report will be listed on your file for seven years.
Bankruptcies will be present for ten years.
Including missing accounts in your credit report
Sometimes, there will be accounts absent from your credit file.
All major banks and financial institutions will report
your information to the credit bureaus regularly.
However, some creditors like smaller credit unions,
retailers, and gas card companies do not provide the
credit reporting agencies with your account information.
Not having all of your open accounts listed on your
credit report can result in you being denied credit
because of an 'insufficient credit file' or a 'no credit file'.
So, to ensure that this does not happen to you, ask the
credit bureaus to add the missing information to your
file. Be aware that since these creditors are not even
reporting your accounts to the credit reporting companies
that it is unlikely that your account will be reflective
of recent activity even when they are included.
The FTC also gives a detailed breakdown of
how to dispute errors.
Additional articles related to credit reports:
Understanding How Your Credit Score is Calculated
Reading the Information in Your Credit Report
Improving Your Credit Rating
The Impact Of Credit Inquiries on Your Score
Have you ever received a bill that was not yours? You
have rights! Creditors are required by law to
validate any debt that they are tying to collect on!