How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
Errors on your credit report can be common but they can cause your credit score to be lower than it should be. Here’s what to do to get those negative items removed.
Identify your credit report errors
It’s a good habit to review your credit report often for errors. You can get a free credit report from the 3 big credit bureaus which are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
These are some common errors:
- Identity errors like incorrect name, phone number, or address
- A wrong account showing due to identity theft
- A closed account that’s still being reported
- The same item listed twice or more
- Inaccurate credit limits
- Showing you as an account owner, when you’re an authorized user only
- A collections account that you paid off and it’s still showing as unpaid
- An incorrectly late or delinquent account or an incorrect date regarding the last payment
- Incorrect account balances
Focus on the errors that affect your score, but smaller errors that don’t aren’t worth it like misspelled former employer or outdated phone numbers.
Contact the furnisher
The second step is to contact the furnisher (companies that provide information to credit bureaus like banks and credit card issuers) to Confirm the error in their records. You may be able to solve the problem. If the issue can’t be resolved, contact the credit reporting bureau directly.
The three bureaus have an online dispute process, that would be the fastest way to fix your issue, you can write a letter as well.
As you can imagine this is not a fast fix, the disputed items need to be investigated and verified with the furnisher and it takes around 30 days. The information provider (whoever reported the disputed item) has to notify the credit bureaus about the error so they can correct it.
Updates to your credit reports can take some time to appear, but if they don’t appear within several months you need to contact the credit bureaus and the furnisher.
If the bureau or furnisher disagrees with the error and doesn’t remove it, and you’re sure the item on the report is incorrect you can take it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and provide copies of your proof. You will have email updates by them or you can log in to the website.