Dispute Credit Report Errors
All three bureaus have an online dispute process, which is often the fastest way to fix a problem, or you can write a letter. You can also call, but you may not be able to complete your dispute over the phone. Here’s information for each bureau:
How to dispute Equifax credit report errors
Write to Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374-0256.
See our guide on how to dispute your TransUnion credit report for details.
How Does Credit Karmas Direct Dispute Feature Work
You can dispute an error on your TransUnion credit report right from Credit Karma. Youll have to file a dispute with Equifax directly if you see an error on your Equifax credit report, but we can help you with that, too.
Heres a step-by-step overview of how to dispute errors on your TransUnion credit report with Credit Karmas Direct Dispute feature:
Wait For Credit Bureaus To Conduct Their Investigation
As mentioned earlier, credit bureaus have 30 days to conduct their investigation. This doesnt mean it will take the full 30 days before you receive a response, but this is the maximum time frame. This is a time when having written proof in the form of a receipt noting when the credit bureaus received your dispute may be helpful, so you know when the 30 days begins. You should receive notice informing you of the results from the credit bureaus within five business days after the investigation is completed.
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What’s In Your Credit Reports
A credit report may include basic information about a consumer’s debts, creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living. The data in the reports from the different credit reporting agencies can vary to some degree, depending on which company produces the report.
How Does The Dispute Process Work
It’s important to understand what happens when you file a dispute with one of the three national credit bureaus . When you dispute information, you set in motion a process regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act . The FCRA, among other things, gives you the right to dispute information on your credit reports at no cost. Section 611 of the law entitles you to a reasonable investigation pursuant to your dispute.
When the credit bureau receives your dispute, it will communicate directly with the source of the disputed information. This source, formally referred to as the “data furnisher,” is usually a lender or other financial services company, debt collector or other business.
The furnisher is obligated to perform a reasonable investigation when they receive your dispute from the credit bureau. The furnisher will generally review their records to determine whether your dispute has merit and warrants a change in their credit reporting. Once they have performed their investigation, they will respond to the credit bureau that made the request and instruct the bureau to either delete the information, modify it or leave it unchanged.
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How Long Does It Take To Improve Your Credit Score
When you spot a piece of incorrect information or see an item you don’t recognize on your credit report, you need to dispute the information with all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Some disputes immediately alter your credit report during the dispute period and over the long-term if the dispute is proven valid.
The length of time it takes to see a change in your credit rating after submitting a dispute varies, but you can expect the investigation of the dispute to take up to 30 days.
If Youve Spotted An Error On One Of Your Credit Reports You Should Take Immediate Steps To Correct The Inaccuracy
Around 25% of U.S. consumers found errors that could affect their credit scores in one of their credit reports, according to a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission. The same study reported that one in five consumers had an error that a credit bureau corrected after the consumer disputed the mistake on at least one report.
An error on your credit reports could lead to lower credit scores and impact your ability to open a new credit account or get a loan. Here are steps you can take to ask the credit bureaus to remove incorrect derogatory marks from your credit.
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Dispute By Mail Or Phone
It’s fast, free and easy to manage a dispute online, but if you’d prefer to dispute by mail or phone you’ll find instructions below.
To complete a dispute by mail, provide as much of the following information as possible:
- Personal Information: Name, DOB, Address, SSN
- Name of company that reported the item youre disputing and the partial account number
- Reason for your dispute
- Any corrections to your personal information
Send your documents to:
Please note: We accept either standard or certified mail.
S To Dispute Credit Reports:
Step #1: The first step in How to Dispute Credit Reports would be to request your annual credit report from all three agencies. Federal law requires Credit Reporting Agencies such and Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to provide a free credit report once every 12 months. These can be requested online at annualcreditreport.com or can be sent via mail with the downloaded form from each creditors website.
Step #2: Diligently review your credit report for any errors or discrepancies. Comb through each report several times looking at dates, addresses, lenders, names, etc.
Send this same letter and support to the creditor making the claim. Make sure the address used is the address of correspondence which can differ from than the address on the actual bill. If you do not hear back within a week or two you can try a new address such as the corporate address or simply just call in. I recommend calling corporate as many customer service agencies are outsourced and commonly do not have access and/or the ability to remove or provide such evidence. Do NOT send original copies of documents. Remember to be precise and professional in these writings.
Below is a step-by-step chart to follow that summarizes the various scenarios one might face in getting a negative mark off ones credit report:
Step-By-Step How to Get Negative Mark Off Credit Report Chart
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What To Do If You Disagree With The Outcome Of Your Dispute
If you dispute an entry on your credit report and the lender or data furnisher verifies the information is correct as reported, Experian will notify you that the lender has verified that the item should remain unchanged.
Experian will update or remove an item in dispute if the lender or data furnisher does not respond within the time frame specified by the FCRA. However, if the data furnisher verifies the account information at a later date, it may be re-added to your credit history at that time.
If you disagree with the outcome of a dispute investigation, you have options, including:
- Communicate with the lender directly to seek correction of any discrepancy in their records.
- Re-file a dispute with the credit bureau, along with additional information documenting the inaccuracy.
- Add a statement of dispute to your credit report. This is a note that appears in your credit report when a creditor checks your credit, indicating that you disagree with an entry in the report. To add a statement of dispute to your Experian credit report, go to the Dispute Center, choose an item you’ve disputed, and select Add a Statement.
Contacting the credit bureaus is typically the quickest and easiest way to resolve an issue on your credit report. As a last resort, you can also consider filing a complaint with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or your state’s attorney general’s office.
What Is The Dispute Resolution Process
By law, Canadaâs two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, must verify the accuracy of a credit report if you dispute any information. Hereâs a brief overview of the proper steps to follow to file a credit report dispute.
Check your credit reports
Potential lenders determine your creditworthiness based on your credit reports and credit scores, so itâs vital to check them regularly and take time to go over them carefully. Pay special attention to things like personal identifying information , account dates, details about each individual loan or credit card account and more.
It may surprise some Canadians to learn that each of the countryâs two credit bureaus may have different financial information on file . TransUnion and Equifax even rely on slightly different algorithms to calculate credit scores, so itâs smart to check your scores and files with both bureaus. You can for free by signing up for Borrowell.
Provide supporting documentation
A credit bureau will need proper supporting documentation to look into your dispute. The documentation you need will depend on the kind of information you dispute. In general, you may need the following documents:
File a Dispute with Equifax
File a Dispute with TransUnion
With TransUnion, you can file a dispute online via their website, by mail, or even by phone by speaking with a representative. There is no fee to lodge a dispute. TransUnion states that it can take up to 30 days to investigate credit report errors.
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How An Error On Your Credit Report Can Affect You
Is it really necessary to keep close tabs on your credit report? Can one error really have an impact on you? Yes. Your credit report contains all kinds of information about you, such as how you pay your bills, and if youve ever filed for bankruptcy. You could be impacted negatively by an error on your credit report in many ways.
To start, its important to understand that credit reporting companies sell the information in your credit reports to groups that include employers, insurers, utility companies, and many other groups that want to use that information to verify your identity and evaluate your creditworthiness.
For instance, if a utility company reviews your credit history and finds a less-than-favorable credit report, they may offer less favorable terms to you as a customer. While this is called risk-based pricing and companies must notify you if theyre doing this, it can still have an impact on you. Your credit report also may affect whether you can get a loan and the terms of that loan, including your interest rate.
Why Check Your Credit Report
Your credit report is a record of how well you manage credit. Errors on your credit report can give lenders the wrong impression. If there’s an error on your credit report, a lender may turn you down for credit cards or loans, or charge you a higher interest rate. You may also not be able to rent a house or apartment or get a job.
Errors can also be a sign that someone is trying to steal your identity. They may be trying to open credit cards, mortgages or other loans under your name.
Take a close look at your credit report at least once a year to see if there are any errors.
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Determine If You Should Contact The Furnisher As Well
The CFPB also recommends that you contact the company that provided the information to the credit bureau. Companies that provide information to credit bureaus are also known as furnishers. Examples of furnishers include banks and credit card issuers. If the furnishers address is listed on your credit report, send your dispute to that address or contact the company for the correct address.
You can try going directly to the furnisher and asking them to correct their reporting mistake before contacting the credit bureau, says Kevin Haney, a credit bureau expert at Growing Family Benefits. That might save a step, since all the bureau can do in its investigation is communicate to the company that the consumer says its wrong, he says.
But if the error is an identity-related mistake made by a credit bureau, go to the bureau first.
Those are the most likely to get corrected, because the bureau owns the problem so it doesnt have to reach out to anyone, Haney says.
In this case, you should also check with the other major credit bureaus to make sure the identity-related error isnt on their reports as well.
Hire A Credit Repair Service
A reputable company like may be a viable solution if your report is riddled with inaccuracies that further complicate the repair process. can help you with the following items:
- Cleaning up credit report errors
- Disputing inaccurate negative entries
- Handling creditor negotiations
If you decide to hire a credit repair service, know that laws govern how they operate and what they can do. The establishes the following regulations governing credit repair services:
- They cannot provide false or misleading information concerning a persons credit status and identification
- They must provide a detailed description of the service
- They cannot receive payment for the performance of any service until said service has been entirely performed
- There must be a written contract detailing the services to be performed, the time frame during which these services will be performed, and the total cost for those services
- They cannot promise to remove accurate information from a credit report before the term set by law
- The consumer will have three days in which to review the contract and cancel without penalty
How To Fix Errors On Your Credit Reports And How They Occur
To err may be human, but if that human error negatively affects your credit worthiness, you’re not alone. The number one complaint received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau involved incorrect information listed on consumers’ credit reports. Of those complaints, errors on a credit report were at the top of the list.
Worse yet, 26% of participants in a study by the Federal Trade Commission identified at least one error on their credit report that could make them appear riskier to lenders. The potential negative impacts those errors can have on your credit report can be catastrophic on your ability to get loans, new lines of credits, or better lending terms and interest rates.
That’s why staying on top of the content of your credit reports is so important. In this section, we’ll reveal some of the most common mistakes found in credit reports, how to fix them, and what to do if you disagree with any of the information in your report.
Gather Materials To Dispute Errors
Your goal is to make it as easy and quick as possible for investigators to confirm that your complaint is valid. Depending on the error, the things you gather to support your case could include:
Copies of credit card statements or loan documents
Copies of bank statements
Copies of birth or death certificates, or a divorce decree
If you’ve reported identity theft, include a copy of your FTC complaint or police report.
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Request A Goodwill Adjustment
This is an ideal option if you generally have a good payment history with your creditor and have been a customer for a while.
To do this, write a goodwill letter to the credit card issuer or lender and explain your situation. Credit card companies have some flexibility when it comes to reporting late payments. They can remove late payments from your credit report under the right circumstances.
Did you have an unexpected expense arise last month that made you late? Are you trying to perfect your credit score so you can get a mortgage or an auto loan?
Include your personal story in the goodwill letter so that the customer service representative reading your letter understands why this would be helpful.
Many people succeed with this method because creditors dont want to risk losing your account because of a single disagreement.
The Bad News: You Dont Have The Right To Have Accurate Negative Information Removed From Your Credit Reports
According to the FCRA, accurate and verifiable negative information can remain on your credit reports for up to seven years.
Unfortunately, this means that if the derogatory information on your credit reports is accurate and verifiable, the rating agencies are under no obligation to remove it before the 7-year clock runs out.
Anomalous information that is accurate and verifiable can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.
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What Is Rapid Rescoring
Rapid rescoring may be useful if youre trying get approval for a credit product, typically a mortgage, and your credit score is close, but not at a lender requirement. If youve recently made positive credit moves but theyre not yet reflected on your reports, lenders can request the information be added. This can result in your report and score being updated within a few days instead of having to wait for the next cycle. Its important to note that:
- You arent able to request a rapid rescore on your own.
- A lender must request one on your behalf and theres usually a fee for the service.
- A rapid rescore cant fix previous mistakes or make negative information disappear.
If youve been working hard to improve your credit health, it can be frustrating to feel your positive progress hasnt been recognized. Ultimately, you may just need to wait for your lender to provide the updated information. In the meantime, keep that momentum going with additional healthy credit habits. If youre looking for other ways to improve your credit health, gives clear, actionable recommendations based on your credit data to help you earn the credit score you want.
What You Need to Know:
There are various types of credit scores, and lenders use a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions. The credit score you receive is based on the VantageScore 3.0 model and may not be the credit score model used by your lender.
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