How to dispute the errors on your credit report

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How to dispute the errors on your credit report
3 years ago
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Did you know that something as simple as a mistake or a misspelling of your name on a credit application could cause big problems with your credit report? It's true ??that simple mistake could very well show up as a name change on your credit reports, causing big problems down the line unless you take the steps necessary to correct that vital information.

When it comes to credit reports even the simplest mistakes can have a profound impact on your ability to get credit. And even if you do get that loan you may end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in excess interest simply because of the information your creditors find when they pull your report. That is why it is so vital for every consumer to check his or her credit report on a regular basis. The time to catch those errors is right away ??not years later when the damage has already been done. The sooner you catch those errors the easier it will be to mitigate the damage.

Where Should I Start?
Many consumers are intimidated by the whole credit reporting and credit score industry, and it is all too easy to get overwhelmed by all the technical jargon and mumbo jumbo. The key to using your credit reports effectively is to become an informed consumer. The more you know about how the whole thing works the less challenging it will be.

For instance, it is important to keep in mind that you actually have three different credit reports, and it is not at all unusual for each report to paint a vastly different picture of your credit history and your creditworthiness. In order to get a complete picture you will need to carefully examine the credit report you receive from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Each report will need to be examined individually. As you examine each report pay attention to things like misspelled names, improperly reported Social Security numbers and other pieces of identification. Also look for such things as closed accounts that show as open on your report, as well as paid off accounts that still show a balance due. Some of the other mistakes you may find as you examine your credit report include:

- Erroneous Social Security numbers, i.e. digits transposed
- More than one listed Social Security number for your name
- Incorrect driver license number ??it is important to verify the accuracy of your driver license number ??do not simply assume it is correct
- Incorrect employment history
- Account balances that are not shown on the credit report
- Incorrect balances ??again it is important to verify the information and not assume it is correct
- Credit inquiries not authorized by you ??pay particular attention here since this could also be an indication of attempted identity theft
- Incorrect public record

All of these mistakes can cost you serious money and possibly damage your credit, so it is important to dispute them as soon as possible. Keep a list of the mistakes you find ??you will use that list to prepare your formal dispute.

The Next Step
Once you have identified any possible errors on all three of your credit reports the next step is to decide how you will file your dispute. Consumers have a number of options when it comes to filing a dispute, including options to file by phone, through email or online. Filing online is generally the easiest option, although in some cases it will be necessary to follow up using traditional mail. This is particularly true if large quantities of documents must be submitted.

If your dispute is a complicated one it may make sense to file by mail. Before you send that information through the mail be sure to make copies of each of the documents. Having backup copies of all of your information will be very helpful in the event the original documents are lost in the mail or damaged later on. Having those documents in front of you will also make it easier to discuss your case with your creditors and representatives of the credit reporting agency should that become necessary down the road.

Be Sure to Follow Up
Your job is not done just because the formal disputes have been filed. It is important to follow up by requesting new copies of each of those inaccurate credit reports a few months later. Once you have received each report be sure to examine it carefully, paying special attention to the errors you found previously. If the errors have been corrected, great. If the errors remain you will need to follow up with another formal dispute.

Keep in mind that some information is easier to correct than others, and some errors may require more work and follow-up on your part. For instance, incorrect account information can be difficult to correct, since the creditor involved must agree that the information is erroneous. When filing the dispute it is important to identify the source of the account and explain why it is incorrect. For instance, if you have an outstanding medical bill that should have been paid by your insurance company it is important to carefully document that information when the dispute is filed. It is important to provide as much detail as possible in order for the dispute to be processed correctly.

Incorrect personal information, such as transposed or mistyped Social Security numbers and misspelled names, are generally much easier to correct. That is because those changes do not require the consent of your creditors. Even so it is important to follow up and make sure the changes you requested have been made. And it is important to check all three of your credit reports on a regular basis to make sure the information you have worked so hard to correct remains accurate.

by Beconrad
Comments
3 years ago
I want to know the amount on my credit card.
3 years ago
There are several amounts on your credit card account: Balance(or credit used), amount of available credit, total credit line, all these items should be available directly on credit card statement, online, or over the phone when you call your bank. Could you please specify which amount you mean?
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