How To Rectify A Mistake On Your Credit Report

29 Sep 2020

If you are struggling with a low credit score, it might be a good idea to assess your report and check for possible mistakes. If you happen to find an error that needs to be corrected, disputing it can greatly benefit your financial situation. Let’s understand the steps you can take to have this fixed. 

Write A Dispute Letter To The Credit Bureau

If you’ve found an error, write a letter providing substantial proof to the respective bureau that released your credit report. The three popular credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian let you dispute issues online or by mail. 

In the letter, you should explain the error and back it up with the proper documentation. For example, this can be an email verifying an account that was misreported. You can find several examples of dispute letters on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website. They also provide the specific mailing address and contact info for each bureau in this document. Remember to keep copies of your letter and all related documentation for your reference. 

Prior to sending the letter, call the bureau and briefly explain the issue over the phone. Let them know that you’ll be sending an official dispute letter to have the problem resolved. 

Contact The Specific Creditor 

After you’ve sent the letter, it is advised to contact the company, often known as the furnisher, that provided the information to the credit bureau. This can include banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, and other lenders. Notify them of the found mistake and mail them a copy of the dispute letter as well. This is important because if the problem originated from the furnisher, they need to know if their records need to be corrected so they can avoid future mistakes. 

Wait A Month And A Half For The Investigation Results

A credit bureau usually has up to 30 days to review your dispute and verify the information with the furnisher. Generally, you will receive the results in 45 days. If you had contacted the creditor, they will also send you results on their investigation. If they feel that no mistakes were made on their end, your report won’t be changed and the error you claimed won’t be removed. However, if the creditor agrees with your dispute, they are responsible for contacting all three credit bureaus so they can correct their records. 

Review Your Updated Credit Report

If changes are made, you’ll be sent an updated credit report from the credit bureau. If the necessary corrections have been made, you can request the credit bureau to send a notification of the change to any creditor or company that received your report within the last 6 months. You can also have it sent to an employer who’s seen your report within the last 2 years. Ultimately, you should be able to see the effect of this correction on your credit score. 

Bottom Line

If you feel that there is a mistake in your credit report and it is adversely affecting your score, it is imperative that you file a dispute. However, you need compelling documentation to prove the blunder otherwise the bureau could question your dispute and drop the investigation. It is also beneficial to contact the furnisher so they can correct the mistake at its origin. This all can be a lengthy process but the end goal is to boost your credit score so you can better your financial standing.