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How to dispute an error on your credit report

Posted: 1:59 PM, Sep 14, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-14 16:59:54-04

Your credit score is an important piece of personal information. It can affect your eligibility for a loan, how much money you can borrow and how you will pay the loan back. Your credit score may be checked when renting an apartment, buying a new car and it may be reviewed when applying for a job. Experts at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union recommend regularly reviewing your credit score and report. Doing so will ensure the information is accurate and that identity theft has not occurred. If you find errors in your credit report – big or small – you are able to dispute them. This may have a big impact on your credit score and possibly your future.

Experts at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union recommend following these steps to dispute an error on your credit report.

1. First, you need to request an up-to-date report. Finding exactly what needs to be disputed is the first step in the process. Technically, anything on a credit report can be disputed but the purpose is to remove incorrect information. It is recommended to prioritize the incorrect items like collections and late fees first. While those may be glaring errors, checking personal information like names or addresses is also important. Those errors may be wrong due to clerical errors or these may indicate identity theft. It is important to learn the difference and carefully review the report in full.

2. Once mistakes are identified, you will need to file a formal dispute. Submit a letter to the credit bureau outlining the error with as much evidence as possible that backs your claim. You may need to provide copies of your Social Security Card, checks and other documentation along with the letter. The more evidence you have to back your claim the better. Keep your letter simple and to the point, explain the error in clear terms. There is no need to use legal vocabulary.

3. It is also recommended that you send a letter to the company or creditor who provided the incorrect information to the credit bureau. Again, include copies and documentation to back your dispute.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is the law that credit bureaus present accurate and correct information. Once a letter of dispute is received, the bureau has 30 days to investigate the claims unless they consider them frivolous. If after this time the credit reporting agency cannot verify the item’s accuracy, or if it is proven inaccurate, the item must be removed or corrected from the credit report. 

Trying to stay financially fit? Check out more money-saving stories in our  Financial Fitness Zone .

The information listed may not reflect the capabilities or practices at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, but is rather meant to serve as an unbiased advisement and support of the financial health of our community.