Your credit report is one of the most important documents lenders will review to determine your loan eligibility and assign rates. The information in the document, which houses all of your credit accounts and payment details, is also used to calculate your credit score. Mistakes or inaccuracies on your credit report could result in a lower score and make it more difficult to receive financing and insurance at favorable rates, so review your it thoroughly and dispute erroneous information.
Examples of inaccuracies that could impact your credit score may include incorrect balances, wrong dates and missing accounts. In more serious cases, your credit report may falsely list a negative action, such as an account in collections, foreclosure or bankruptcy. Any mistakes, regardless of how minor, should be disputed, whether or not they have a negative impact on your credit score.
1. Contact the Credit Bureau
Send written correspondence to the credit bureau that has listed the incorrect information, explaining what is inaccurate. Provide supporting documentation, including copies of credit statements, loan balances and other data to back up your claim. You should also send a copy of the credit report itself and circle the incorrect items in red. Mail the documents by certified mail and “return receipt requested” to confirm that the bureau receives the letter.
2. Dispute the Item With the Reporting Organization
You should also contact the retailer, loan servicer or organization that reported the detail by mistake. Inform them that you are disputing the item and, as above, provide proof that supports your claim.
3. Keep All Correspondence
The credit bureau will investigate your claim within 30 days, during which time they will contact the entity that inaccurately reported the information. The merchant or creditor will conduct its own investigation and report its findings back to the credit bureau. Keep all correspondence and copies of the dispute on hand. After the investigation is concluded, the credit bureau will contact you with the results and a copy of your credit report.