Protect your credit score by fixing credit report errors

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Protect your credit score by fixing credit report errors
1 year ago
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An error on your credit report can seriously affect your finances and your ability to make purchases using credit. Errors can lower your credit rating, resulting in denials for home mortgage loans or credit card accounts. A low credit score may even affect your job prospects if a potential employer routinely runs credit checks on job candidates. If you notice an error in your credit report, it is important to dispute the mistake as soon as possible to protect your good credit rating.

If there is an error on one of your credit reports, there is a good chance that the same error is present on another report. Trans Union, Experian and Equifax are the credit bureaus in the United States and each company has their own website. Credit report errors can be disputed by completing online forms on each credit bureau website. When you submit your complaint, you will be asked to create a user name and password, which will allow you to check on the progress and eventual resolution of your complaint.

Errors can also be addressed by writing to the credit bureaus if you prefer not to handle your complaint online. Letters should contain details regarding the name of the creditor, account number, date that the transaction took place and your explanation as to why the information reported is incorrect. Letters should be sent registered mail or return receipt requested. If you send your letter using one of these delivery methods, you will be provided with a receipt (either actual on available online) that will serve as a proof that your letter was received.

While a mistake could have been made when the credit bureau updated their records, it is also possible that the company that reported information to the credit bureau made the mistake. If this is the case, you will need to also send a letter to the creditor explaining the error. Enclose copies of cancelled checks or old billing statements that back up your claim. Ask that the creditor send the correct information to the credit bureaus and request written proof that this has been done.

Whether you handle the dispute online or by letter, it is important to keep records of every contact you have with the credit bureaus and the original creditor. Print out a copy of your completed online complaint form. Make a copy of signed letters. Start a log sheet for telephone calls. If you call the credit bureaus or the creditor regarding the progress of your dispute, note the date and time of your call, the name of the person answering the call and the information provided to you.

Follow up with the credit bureaus to ensure that your complaint has been investigated. If you don?t receive a follow-up letter or no progress has been made on your online complaint, make telephone calls to determine if there is a problem that is delaying the processing of your complaint. Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, all complaints must be investigated and resolved, usually within 30 days. If your complaint is resolved in your favor, check your credit report one month after you receive the notice to make sure that the change has been made.

After your complaint has been resolved, make checking your credit report a regular habit. Each credit bureau is required by law to provide one free credit report to you each year. Take advantage of this free offer and carefully examine your report for mistakes and omissions. Catching and correcting mistakes quickly will help ensure that you maintain your good credit rating and enjoy the benefits that good credit can bring.
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