Your credit matters, learn how to dispute and error.
Your credit report reflects vital information about… well, you. And, this isn’t limited to credit specific information. A credit report is a window into your past and present that lenders use to determine creditworthiness. Your credit report contains other information, too, like where you live, how you pay your bills, whether you’ve been sued or arrested, have been filed for bankruptcy, etc. This is why accuracy is very important, and why you should know how to dispute an error if you find one.
This information paints a complete picture for lenders deciding to extend you credit. This is why it’s so important the information is accurate. A variety of lending institutions can use credit reports to evaluate your application for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies.
Why do you need to review the credit report thoroughly?
The information furnished in your credit report determines your approval odds for getting a loan or other line of credit, in addition to determining your interest rate. If you’re about to make a large purchase, such as a boat, house, car, etc. any inaccurate information on your credit report can potentially limit your buying power.
To help guard yourself against identity theft.
Your report contains confidential information like your Social Security number, and detailed financial information. If your identity is stolen or compromised, your credit report acts as a paper trail.
What steps can a consumer take to dispute errors on their credit report? If you find an error in your credit report, you have the explicit right to remove it by raising a dispute with the bureau reporting the delinquency. You can raise a dispute via phone, online, or by mail. Of all, disputing by mail gives you a paper trail that can prove handy if you need to later sue the credit bureau.
All three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax are then required to launch an investigation into the disputed accounts. During this
investigation, they may contact you to confirm or verify certain information. If the error is found to be valid the record is removed from your credit reports.
Below are the steps a consumer should take to dispute an error on his credit reports:
- Get a free copy of your credit report and credit score from Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and WalletHub.
- Decide which accounts need to be disputed, if any.
- Tell the credit reporting company what information you think is inaccurate in writing.
- Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
- Credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question, usually within 30 days unless they consider your dispute frivolous.
- Services like Creditkarma and CreditSesame offer dispute filing, are these services effective or are there better ways?
CreditKarma and CreditSesame are among the best credit monitoring services around. When errors are found on a credit report, file a dispute with the appropriate bureau with the click of a button.
These services are faster than the traditional paper method, and still provide an audit trail if needed. Likewise, Credit Sesame also offers credit monitoring at a variety of levels. It has a variety of plans but does not offer to send disputes through the user dashboard.
It’s usually fastest to dispute an error directly with the source.
On the other hand, consumers can report their credit report errors directly with Equifax and Experian. They offer online services to resolve the errors and prove to be the fastest way for dispute resolution. If you have an egregious error on your Equifax report, it’s always best, and fastest to go directly to the source.
If you find an error on your Experian file, you can quickly fill out a dispute through the Experian dashboard. You can also freeze your credit file, which prevents anyone from making inquiries against it until you unfreeze it.
You can only do this for your Experian account, though it provides help in contacting Equifax and TransUnion.
You should handle any and all errors found on your credit report right away. Whether you choose to handle them in writing, via a credit monitoring service, or directly with the bureau. If you’re struggling with unsecured debt, reach out to us now. We can help.
Your partner in debt relief,
Consumer First Financial