Correcting Errors on Your Credit Report

These tips will help you fix your credit report quickly

10/13/2014 9:00:00 AM
If you’re trying to get a mortgage, a car or student loans, lenders will check your credit history. Unfortunately, credit report mistakes could arise for one reason or another, but you can dispute these errors.
Creditors, insurers, employers and businesses that will use your credit report to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, em­ployment or acquiring a home are among those that have a legal right to access this information. The Federal Trade Commission notes that, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), however, you can dispute credit report mistakes and ensure that all of your information is accurate.

How Does the FCRA Work?

Passed in 1970, the FCRA regulates credit bureaus and how they handle consumer credit information. Because a single error can have far-flung effects on a person’s credit report, he or she has the right to dispute such a mistake under this federal statute.
Those who find errors on a credit report should act immediately to get these issues rectified. Contact the credit reporting company and the information provider (the person or organization offering details about a credit reporting company) to get the ball rolling.
To make corrections to an inaccurate credit report, those who find mistakes should take both of the following steps.
Notify the credit reporting company. Write a letter that explains the problem. Providing copies of documents that support your case is helpful as well.
With every submission, include your complete name and address. Identify each item in your report that you are disputing and explain the reason why you think this information is inaccurate. It is better to err on the side of caution, so be sure to keep copies of all of your dispute information and enclosures.
After you send your materials, credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question. In addition, these businesses must forward all of the pertinent data you provided about the inaccuracy to the person or organization providing the information.
If the information provider reviews the details and finds that your case is valid, credit report changes must be made immediately. All three nationwide credit reporting companies will be notified to correct the information in your file.
At the investigation’s conclusion, the credit reporting company is required to provide you with the dispute results in writing and a free copy of your updated report. This free report does not count as your annual free report.
Inform the creditor about your dispute. A creditor or any other information provider must be notified about your dispute. Send written notification about the conflict and include copies of documents to support your position, if possible. If you are correct—if the information is found to be inaccurate—the information provider is not permitted to report it again.
Reviewing your credit report periodically enables you to ensure its accuracy. Under U.S. law, you can order one free copy of your credit report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months. You can request your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time throughout the year.

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