If you find information that is incorrect for any reason, it’s your job to dispute that information in order to have it removed from the report. Only you are looking out for your own credit rating, so it’s to your advantage to pay attention to your report.
How To Get Your Credit Report
There are actually three credit reporting agencies. They are Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. The information in each report can be different, so it’s important to pay attention to all three. If you haven’t checked your credit report lately, now is a good time to do so!
The fastest way to get a copy of your credit report is to visit AnnualCreditReport.com, where you’re entitled to receive a copy of each of your three reports for free once per year. The report is free, but if you want to see your score you will have to pay to do so. If you haven’t been following what’s in your credit reports, start out by requesting all three reports at once, because the information they contain can actually vary quite significantly, depending on who has reported what to them. The differences from one report to the next can amount to a significant credit score difference.
Review the Report for Accuracy
Once you order your credit report, expect to wait 2-4 weeks until it is delivered. When you get the report, check all three credit reports carefully in search of incorrect or inaccurate information. Any detail that isn’t right should be changed, even if it’s just a wrong address, because these pieces of information can have an impact on how lenders view you.
Dispute Any Wrong Information
If you find information that needs to be changed in your credit report, the next step is to contact the agency in charge of that specific report. It can take some time to dispute incorrect information, so the sooner you begin, the better.
If you find a problem with one of your reports, you will need to write a dispute letter to get the information corrected. You can find sample dispute letters online that will give you a good starting point for writing this letter. Be professional and include all of the necessary proof that the information is incorrect so the credit agency can make the change. Include copies of any documents that support your position. Do not include the originals.
The Dispute Process
Typically, the credit agency (Experian, Equifax, or Trans Union) will contact the company that reported the false information, and an investigation will follow to determine whether or not the information is inaccurate. This may take some time. Be prepared to follow up if necessary to ensure the process is carried out. Afterall, no one has a bigger stake in your credit report being correct than you do!
Accounts That Are Not Reported
If not all of your credit accounts are being reflected on your credit file, then you may want to ensure that missing information is added. You can achieve this by contacting the companies that aren’t reporting your credit history and asking them to begin reporting for you. Not every company is going to want to report this information for you, so it can take some time for you to have this information added to your account. However, if you’re diligent, you should be able to have the information added.
I can not stress how important the follow up process is! If you have not heard anything from the credit reporting agency in 30 days, make sure to follow up. If you need to, put a reminder in your personal calendar so you don’t forget.
Once you’ve obtained and corrected past information in your reports, you can stay updated by spreading out your credit report requests to every 4 months. Simply request your report from one of the credit reporting agencies every 4 months, and over the course of a year, you’ll have received all three. Of course, correct important mistakes in all 3 of them if you find an error.
Your credit score can have a big impact on your life. It can determine the rate you pay on a home or car, your insurance or even your next job. Checking your report regularly will help to make sure your report is error free. While it may seem like a hassle at first, it will pay off in the long run!
Print this handy Credit Report Guide so you can keep a reminder to check your credit report regularly.