If you’ve ever read your credit reports and found something that isn’t right, you probably wanted to know what you should do about it. That’s simple. You file a dispute. There’s no reason to let credit reporting errors drag down your credit scores — and filing a dispute on a credit report is easier than you might think. To make the process even easier, here’s all the information you might want to gather before you file a dispute.
- Credit Reporting Bureau Contact Information
Before you do anything, it’s important to understand that there are three different CRAs and that they’re not interchangeable. If you spot an error on your Equifax report, for example, and dispute with Experian, then your dispute won’t work. The CRAs are three different companies that will show you three different credit reports. Ideally, they should be fairly similar, but since lenders don’t have to report your account activity to all three, there will likely be differences. That’s why it’s so important to check your credit report from all three when you go to AnnualCreditReport.com for your free annual reports. When you spot an error on your credit report, you should only dispute the error with the CRA whose credit report shows the error.
- A Marked-Up Copy of Your Credit Report
Once you know for sure who the dispute should be sent to (the CRA from which the error originated), then it will be helpful to print out a copy of that CRA’s report. After you print it out, highlight or circle the sections showing the mistake to pinpoint the mistake in question. For example, if you see an account on your credit report that you never authorized or co-signed, circle that entire section. On the other hand, if all accounts are yours but one includes a late payment that you know you made on time, you can circle the account and then draw an arrow to the late payment. There’s no real right or wrong way to do this. The main idea is to make it easier for the person reviewing your dispute to see exactly what it is you’re disputing. The simpler it is for them, then hopefully the sooner the credit report mistake gets fixed.
- Documents That Prove Your Case
Continuing along the lines of making it easier to process your dispute, it’s also a good idea to include in your dispute any documents that prove that the error is, in fact, an error. An example of this could be if you have a late payment showing up on your credit report, but your financial statement indicates that you made the payment on time. Printing out that statement and circling the on-time payment helps show that your bank or lender reported the payment as on-time. Something to consider here is items from your credit report that you don’t want to dispute. Only errors such as incorrect payment history, accounts you never authorized, incorrect account statuses, and so on should be disputed. All that said, make sure any documents you’re planning on sending in are copies, not originals. That goes for your credit report, too. It’s best to keep originals on hand so they’re handy if you need them.
- A Credit Report Dispute Letter
Finally, once all your documentation is put together, the last step is to write a credit report dispute letter. Here’s what to include in your letter, according to TransUnion:
- The file number the credit bureau in question has for you (this could show up in different places depending on which CRA’s report you’re looking at, but a good place to look might be near your personal information)
- Personal information such as your social security number, birthday, and address
- The name of the company whose item on your credit report you’re disputing, as well as your account number with that company. This could be a credit card account or an auto loan, for example.
- The reason why you’re making a dispute, and any corrections you want to see made
Once you file your credit report dispute, the CRA has 30 days (21 days in Maine) to verify the information you’re disputing. It’s important to note that a CRA can decide your dispute is frivolous, at which point they don’t have to follow this process. That’s why it’s important to make sure the mistake you see on your credit report truly is a mistake, and that you’re not disputing things such as balances that are a few days old. But keeping track of and disputing credit report errors is a hard task. That’s why we created Dovly.com.The online-based platform that will give you your credit score & summary, let you see how your credit compares to others and help you improve your credit and lifestyle! Best of all? It starts at only $49.99 per month! Sounds interesting? Then CLICK HERE and give it a try now!