Financial Education

 

 

Correcting Credit Report Errors

Making changes to your credit report

It's possible for incorrect, incomplete, or outdated information to appear on your credit report. If it does, it can lower your chances of getting the loans, credit cards, and other credit products you desire. If you find an error, take the following steps to fix it as soon as possible. If you see evidence of fraud or identity theft, contact the three major credit reporting agencies immediately. Explain the situation and ask that a fraud alert be placed in your file. Also report the fraud to the police and obtain a police report to provide to your lenders.

It's also important to keep a record of everything you do. Make copies of any letters or documents you send. Never send original documents.

  • Contact the Credit Reporting Agency
  • Contact the credit reporting agency that is reporting the item in question. You will need a printed copy of your credit report from them, which you may be eligible to receive free of charge.

After you notify the credit reporting agency of the inaccuracy, the credit reporting agency will review it. If further investigation is required, they will provide notification of your dispute, including relevant information you may have submitted, to the source that furnished the disputed information to them.

The source will then review the information, conduct its own investigation, and report back. The credit reporting agency will then make the appropriate changes to your credit file based on the investigation, and will notify you of the update.

The source will then review the information, conduct its own investigation, and report back. The credit reporting agency will then make the appropriate changes to your credit file based on the investigation, and will notify you of the update.

Contact the Lender Regarding the Problem
In some cases, you should also contact the appropriate lender, sometimes even before you contact a credit reporting agency. This is especially true if you are a victim of identity theft or fraud. You should also contact the lender if information that you asked a credit reporting agency to investigate was verified as accurate by that lender.

Most large lenders have standard procedures for customers to dispute items on their account. If you have proof that the item in question is incorrect, it should be resolved quickly.

If the lender finds that the disputed information is indeed incorrect, the lender is required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to update its records both internally and with the credit reporting agencies it deals with, usually within 30 days.

Always follow up your phone calls with a letter. List each item that you want to have investigated and state how it is inaccurate, attaching copies of relevant documents. Include your full name, account number, the dollar amount in question, and the reason you believe the item is wrong. Be concise.

Contact the Other Credit Reporting Agencies
IIf you find an inaccuracy with one credit reporting agency, you may want to get your credit report from the other two agencies to see if their reports contain the same item. In most cases, after you have corrected it with one agency, the other agencies also receive the corrected information. But for prompt correction, it's best to contact each of the three credit reporting agencies yourself.

Ensure Your Request Was Addressed
A credit reporting agency has 30 days to complete its investigation, so it should generally notify you of the results of its investigation within a month or so of your request. It will also provide you with the results of its investigation free of charge. Examine the results carefully to ensure that the information has been modified or removed, if it was not verified by the source.

If an item has been modified, you can have the credit reporting agency send a revised report to anyone who received a report in the past six months (two years in the case of employers).

If You Disagree with the Results
You have the right to file a brief statement with the credit reporting agency, free of charge, explaining the nature of your disagreement. The credit reporting agency may limit your statement to 100 words, and may assist you in writing a clear summary of the disagreement. Your statement will become part of your credit file, and will be included each time your credit file is accessed and the disputed item is included in a credit report.