8 Steps for Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report

Three out of every four credit reports contain an error of some sort. Most are simple misspellings or transcription mistakes. However, depending upon the study you read, anywhere from 5% to 25% of all credit reports contain an error so serious that it would lead to a credit application denial that otherwise would have been approved.

Disputing an error on your credit report is a simple if not perfect process.

To dispute an error, follow these 8 simple steps:

  1. Go directly to the website of whichever consumer reporting agency (CRA) issued the report with the mistake on it, whether it was Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
  2. Click on the “Error Dispute” option located on the home page.
  3. Enter the credit report or file number found on your report copy in order to bring it up on the CRA’s system. You may be asked to create a free account with the CRA at this point.
  4. Find the error on your report and click the corresponding link to begin a dispute. You may also be given the option to “start a new dispute.”
  5. Choose from the drop down menu the reason for your dispute, from ownership or payment error to fraudulent account or out-of-date information.
  6. Add brief, factual clarifications in the corresponding explanation field as necessary.
  7. Repeat steps four through six to dispute additional mistakes or errors.
  8. “Check out” or “Submit” the dispute(s) and add any supporting documentation you might have.

After submitting your dispute, the CRA will forward the dispute to the creditor in question, who will have 30 days to respond, though most do so in less time.

If the creditor disagrees with your dispute, your next step should involve contacting them directly and sharing your documentation with them in order to correct the error.

Note that there is no advantage to sending your dispute by mail nor to submitting multiple disputes for the same error. Finally, beware of credit repair agencies offering to perform these steps for you, since they often charge more than one-third the area’s median monthly household income to do for you what you can do yourself for free.

With so many possibilities for errors, isn’t there a way to keep creditors from sending you promotional offers in the mail? Yes, there is. Learn more coming up next.

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