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  • Writer's pictureFair Capital

How do I find and dispute errors on my credit report?

Updated: Sep 19

Ensuring your credit report is error-free is essential for your financial well-being. Let's break down the process into easy-to-follow steps so you can confidently address any discrepancies:

find and dispute errors on credit report

How to improve your credit score

How do I get my credit report?

How do I read my credit report properly?

Here's how to fix your credit

Dive into Your Report:

Start by thoroughly examining your credit report. Think of it as reading a financial story about yourself; you want every detail to be accurate.

Spot and Document:

Found an inconsistency? Great detective work! Now, gather your evidence. This might be bank statements, payment confirmations, or relevant emails. Keep these documents handy; they're your proof. Differentiate between genuine errors and negative yet accurate entries. Genuine errors, once flagged, can be rectified. However, accurate negative entries, even if unfavorable, are likely to remain.

Craft Your Dispute Letter:

Time to put on your writer's hat. Draft a clear letter detailing each error. Explain why you believe there's a mistake and politely request a correction. Remember to attach copies of your evidence (keep the originals safe).

Send with Care:

Post your letter to the credit bureau using certified mail. Opt for a return receipt. It's like getting a digital high-five, confirming they've received your letter.

Engage Directly with Creditors:

If a specific lender or credit card company reported the disputed entry, it's wise to communicate with them directly. Share your concerns and provide copies (not originals) of your evidence. They have a legal obligation to review and respond.

Monitor and Follow-Up:

After submitting your dispute, monitor any communications or updates from the credit bureau. They're typically required to investigate and respond within 30 days. If the error is rectified, ensure it's reflected in subsequent credit reports. If not, consider further actions, including consulting with a credit counselor or legal advisor.

How do I read my credit report properly?

Reading a credit report requires understanding its various sections and what they represent. Here's a brief guide:

Personal Information: This section lists details like your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and possibly employment information.

Credit Accounts (Trade Lines): This section details all your credit accounts, including credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and student loans. For each account, you'll see the lender's name, account type and number, account status, date the account was opened, credit limit or loan amount, current balance, and your payment history.

Credit Inquiries: This section lists all entities that have requested your credit report. There are two types of inquiries: hard and soft. Hard inquiries are initiated when you apply for credit and can temporarily lower your credit score. Soft inquiries, on the other hand, happen when either you or a company checks your credit for non-lending reasons, such as pre-approved credit offers. These do not impact your score.

Public Records: Here, you'll find any financial-related legal matters like bankruptcies, tax liens, or civil judgments. These can significantly impact your creditworthiness.

Collections: If you've defaulted on any accounts and they've been sent to collections, they'll appear here. This section will show the original creditor, the collection agency, the amount owed, and the date it went to collections. Having a debt with a collection agency can also significantly affect one's credit rating.

Summary: Some credit reports provide a summary at the beginning, highlighting key data points and potential areas of concern.

Sample Credit Report

How do I get my credit report?

Obtaining your credit report is a straightforward process. In the U.S., the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) entitles every individual to one free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) every 12 months. However, on September 18th, 2023, the three major credit bureaus announced that they will permanently offer free weekly online credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion via, the official site that provides free credit reports.

Disclaimer: Any and all information is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice. Please consult your attorney for information concerning allowable rates of interest.

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