By now, most people understand how important a good credit score is when it comes to the approval of important things like a home mortgage, car loan, credit card, and more.
Unfortunately, though, errors do occur that can wreak havoc if left on your credit report. That’s why it is so important to monitor your credit score by obtaining a copy of your report each year to look for discrepancies and incorrect information.
What to do if Your Credit Report Has Errors
If you do find issues with your credit report, it is imperative that you tend to it immediately, as it could be a sign of a bigger problem, including identity theft.
Since there are three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S. – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – you will need to contact all of them, as they each have their own process of disputing incorrect information in your credit file. Alerting the credit bureaus and providing them with updated information will help ensure that the incorrect information is removed from your credit history with no negative reporting.
Here are the steps that need to be taken to correct any misinformation on file with the credit bureaus.
How to Correct Information on Your Credit Report
- Review Your Credit Report – Once you obtain a copy of your credit report and see the errors, you should then request a copy from the other two bureaus, as they may also be wrong. The most common errors include name and address, accounts that belong to someone with your same name, accounts reported as late or delinquent that are in good standing, fraudulent accounts in your name, double listing of debts, and incorrect balance/payment information.
- Report Errors to Credit Bureaus – Every error found in your credit file should be reported to the credit bureau and disputed. Your dispute must be in writing and can be sent via certified mail to the credit bureaus or via the dispute form on the website of each major credit bureau. Be sure to include all relevant information including your name, address, and the incorrectly listed information on your credit report. Also be sure to include a copy of your recent credit report and highlight the error so there is no misunderstanding.
- Directly Contact the Business Who Made the Error – In addition to all three credit bureaus, you should also send the same letter to the business who made the mistake. This gives them a chance to correct the issue firsthand, perhaps even sooner than the credit bureau. Again, any correspondence should be sent via certified mail to ensure delivery has been made.
- Follow Up – Once the credit bureaus have investigated your dispute, you will be contacted with their findings. If they agree, the incorrect information will be removed. They may also request additional proof of the error and may even indicate that they do not view it as an error. Unless the problem is resolved, you should continue to dispute the information and explore your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Taking these steps to ensure your credit report is error free is crucial for your financial future. Good credit is needed for home loans, credit cards, auto purchases, and more, so monitoring your credit file is a good habit for financial success.