How to Dispute Inaccurate Items on Your Credit Report

The First things you should know:

credit-report-disputeThere are a few things that you need to know in order to start a dispute on your credit. Not all companies use all three credit reporting agencies to check your credit. So, in order to get an accurate view of what your credit score looks like it is better to have a copy of all three reports. Due to Federal regulation (The Fair Credit Reporting Act) you are allowed to receive a free credit report from each agency once every year. You will be required to provide your Social Security number. The three national credit agencies that you need to get a report from are Transunion, Equifax and Experian. Because these are national, they are the most commonly used agencies. If you are turned down for credit you can get an additional report free from the credit reporting agency used by the lender that refused you credit.

Steps you can take to fix your credit report:

The first step that you need to take to dispute an inaccuracy is to get a copy of your credit report so that you are looking at the same information as your lender. Review the report carefully; in this way you will know what parts of your credit report have inaccuracies. Make sure you look at the report from all three agencies. Each report looks a little bit different so look through them thoroughly. You can dispute an inaccuracy online, by mail or by telephone.

What to do next:

Once you have found the inaccurate entries you can move on to the dispute process. For each agency that you find an inaccuracy in your report you will need to file a separate dispute. Each agency has its own online site for filing a dispute.

How long does it take?

Once your dispute has been filed each lender that you file the dispute on will have 30 days to supply information verify that their information they provided to the credit reporting agency is accurate. If they do not provide this information the reporting agency will remove the item from your credit report. In some cases they will have up to 45 days to supply the information. You can log on to each site and check the progress of your dispute at any time. It is important to check your credit score at least annually to look for inaccurate information, it does happen, and to watch for identity theft.

Where to go to get your report:
To order all three reports free:
http://www.annualcreditreport.com/

If you prefer to mail the form you can print it here:
http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0093-annual-report-request-form.pdf

Each agency will have a slightly different process but you can file your dispute by using these links:
*Experian: http://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html
*Equifax: https://www.ai.equifax.com/CreditInvestigation/home.action
*Transunion: https://dispute.transunion.com/dp/dispute/order.jsp?package=DisputeDisclosureXML