Summary Of Moneys Guide For Getting Negative Items Removed From Your Credit Report
- Order a copy of your credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com and search for inaccurate information, like missed payments or accounts that don’t belong to you.
- If you find any, file a dispute online or through the mail with the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- You should also notify your bank or credit card issuer. They can help you verify that the information in your report is, in fact, erroneous and notify the bureau.
- Be on the lookout for a response from the bureau. It should arrive in around a month or less. If they accept your dispute, request your credit report again to make sure the negative information was removed.
- If your report is riddled with errors or you’re finding the dispute process difficult, consider hiring a .
Takeaways: How To Dispute Credit Reports And Win
- Youre entitled to accurate and verifiable information on your credit report
- You can file a dispute with the credit bureaus by phone, mail, or online
- When filing a credit dispute, include as much information as possible to support your claim
- If your dispute is rejected, you can choose to re-dispute the claim with the credit reporting bureaus
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Make Sure Your Disputes Are Legitimate
Be sure you dont do anything to make the credit bureaus think your credit report disputes are frivolous. Dont dispute everything on your credit report and do not send all your disputes at once. If you dispute the same item more than once, you should give a different reason for each dispute so the credit bureau doesnt think youre sending duplicates. The credit bureau has the right to reject your dispute if you don’t have solid evidence.
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Common Credit Report Errors
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, these are the most common errors consumers find on their credit history:
- Wrong name, address or phone number
- Accounts from someone with a similar name
- New credit accounts opened by someone who stole your identity
Incorrect account status
- Accounts wrongfully labeled as open, past due or delinquent
- Accounts that wrongfully listed you as the owner instead of authorized user
- Wrong date for the last payment received, date the account was opened or delinquency status
- Same debt listed multiple times
- Information that is not removed, despite already being disputed and corrected
- Accounts that are listed multiple times, with different creditors
- Incorrect credit limit
Check Your Credit Reports For Updates
It may take some time for your credit reports to be updated. Creditors can take up to 45 days to send a credit bureau new information, according to TransUnion. If the information isnt updated after 45 days, contact the credit bureaus or data furnisher again to see why inaccurate information is still being reported.
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How To Dispute An Item On Your Credit Report
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Accurate reporting of your credit information is the number one goal of the two main credit reporting bureaus in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion. Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made and inaccurate information is included on your credit report. When this happens, both Equifax and TransUnion are required, by law, to investigate, confirm, or change any information that you dispute.
All consumers and credit users have the right to dispute information that they know is inaccurate. Once a dispute is initiated, the credit reporting bureau must launch an investigation to confirm the validity of the information in question.
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How Often Do Errors Require Disputing Credit Reports
In a one-of-a-kind 2012 study, the Federal Trade Commission selected 1,001 Americans at random and asked them to review and dispute credit report information that they felt was wrong.
Heres what happened1:
- 26% of total participants identified one or more errors and disputed their credit reports
- 21% had changes to a credit report based on their dispute
- 13% saw their credit score change as a result
- 5% saw their credit score increase enough to improve their credit risk level by one tier
That last statistic is perhaps most important. As the FTC report notes, the credit report disputes by those 5% resulted in enough improvement to get them better loan terms should they seek one, including a lower interest rate.
Did you know? As an added security measure to help protect against fraud, American Express reports a reference number to credit bureaus instead of your actual account number.
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Send A Request For Goodwill Deletion
Writing a goodwill letter can be a viable option for people who are otherwise in good standing with creditors. If you’ve taken steps to pay down your overall debt and have been paying your monthly bills on time, you might be able to convince your creditor to forgive the late payment.
While there’s no guarantee that the creditor will delete the derogatory information, this strategy does get results for some. Goodwill letters are most successful for one-off problems, such as a single missed payment. However, they are not effective for debtors with a history of late payments, defaults or collections.
When writing the letter:
- Take responsibility for the issue that lead to the derogatory mark
- Explain why you didn’t pay the account
- If you can, point out good payment history before the incident
Which Credit Report Errors Should You Dispute
The most concerning errors are those that could hurt your scores or suggest identity theft. Those include:
Wrong account status .
Negative information that’s too old to be reported most derogatory marks on your credit must be removed after seven years.
An ex-spouse incorrectly listed on a loan or credit card.
Wrong account numbers or accounts that arent yours.
Inaccurate credit limits or loan balances.
Accounts you don’t recognize.
If you suspect your identity has been stolen, follow the steps to report identity theft.
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Contacting The Credit Bureaus For Dispute Comments Deletion
The most effective way is to always call the bureaus for removing dispute comments. I always recommend my clients to do so. You may spend some time on hold during the process, but it often solves the problem. The list below contains the number that I have personally used to speak with a representative from different bureaus:
Press the following options after being asked for your SSN number and birth date: 2, 1, 2, 1. Problems may be encountered while trying to reach a live representative. Visit annualcreditreport.com to obtain a free report. Additionally, you can also check out freecreditreport.com to gain access to your Experian report. You will be provided with a special phone number and a report I.D. number on the report. You can use this information to get in touch with customer service much easier. Raise your concern about removing dispute comments for a specific account in the credit report. Dont forget to mention that you no longer want to dispute the specific accounts.
Inquire about how much time it will take to remove the comments, expressing the need to expedite services quicker.
Equifax usually accommodates their customers through a live representative. However, hold times can be long. Speak to your live agent and request for a dispute comment removal. Tell the agent that you want to apply for new credit. It is also preferable to speak with the manager directly.
If a Phone Number doesnt work:
What To Do If You Disagree With The Outcome Of Your Dispute
If you don’t agree with the results of your dispute, here are some additional steps you can take:
- Contact the information source. Your best next step is to contact the entity that originally provided the disputed information to Experian and offer proof their information is incorrect. The source may be the lender or financial institution that issued you a loan or credit, but it could also be a collection agency or government office. Contact information for each source appears on your credit report, and you can use it to reach out to them.
- Add a statement of dispute to your credit report. A statement of dispute lets you explain why you believe the information in your credit report is incomplete or inaccurate. Your statement will appear on your Experian credit report whenever it’s accessed or requested by a potential lender or creditor, so they may ask you for more details or documentation as part of their review or application process. To add a statement of dispute, go to the Dispute Center, choose the item in dispute, and select Add a Statement from the menu of dispute reasons.
- Dispute again with relevant information. If you have additional relevant information to substantiate your claim, you can submit a new dispute. If you’re filing the dispute online, follow the steps listed above for using the Dispute Center, and use the upload link to provide your supporting documentation.
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Watch Out For Credit Repair Scams
Filing a dispute isn’t a complicated process. Disputes are free and the credit reporting agencies must follow strict federal regulations for your protection. However, there are credit repair companies that prey on people by promising to remove derogatory information and charge high fees to do so. These companies do not have any more power to make changes to your credit report than you could, for free.
That said, if you prefer to hire a credit repair company to handle disputes on your behalf, we recommend thoroughly vetting the company before paying them a dime.
One: Obtain A Recent Copy Of Your Credit Report
In order to dispute an item on your credit report, youll need to prove to the powers that be that your credit report is inaccurate. To do so, youll want to have a copy of your credit report handy. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three main credit reporting agencies, which you can access through AnnualCreditReport.com. Or if youre a Mint user, you can easily view your credit score in the Mint app whenever you please!
Once youve got your credit report in front of you, pull out that red pen of yours and notate any items on the report that are inaccurate or with which you do not agree.
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Fixing Errors In A Credit Report
Anyone who denies you credit, housing, insurance, or a job because of a credit report must give you the name, address, and telephone number of the credit reporting agency that provided the report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act , you have the right to request a free report within 60 days if a company denies you credit based on the report.
You can get your credit report fixed if it contains inaccurate or incomplete information:
- Contact both the credit reporting agency and the company that provided the information to the CRA.
- Tell the CRA, in writing, what information you believe is inaccurate. Keep a copy of all correspondence.
Some companies may promise to repair or fix your credit for an upfront fee–but there is no way to remove negative information in your credit report if it is accurate.
What Happens When An Item Is Deleted From Your Credit Report
Whenever your credit report is altered because of a dispute lodged by you or a credit repair service, the credit bureau must inform you in writing. You are then entitled to a fresh copy of your credit report from the bureau.
Many credit cards offer free alerts that inform you whenever your credit score changes. Thus, if an item deletion results in a change to your score, your credit card company may be the first to inform you of the good news. You also may get a free fraud alert service.
You should see your credit score improve when negative items are removed from your reports. How much it improves, however, depends on the type of item that is removed and its age.
The credit bureau must send you written results about your dispute, which usually arrive within the initial 30-day window. If the results are favorable, you can instruct the bureau to notify anyone who received your report in the past six months.
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Does Disputing A Credit Card Charge Hurt Your Credit Score
If you see an inaccurate credit card charge on your credit report, a fraudulent charge that you didnt make, or any billing errors, you can report and dispute the charge with your credit card issuing company. If they determine that the charge was indeed incorrect, they will correct it on your report.
What type of credit card charges can be disputed?
You can dispute:
- Charges that are incorrectly billed
- Charges that are showing incorrect information
- If someone has stolen your credit card information to make a purchase, you can dispute such charges too
Does disputing a credit card charge hurt your credit score?
If the dispute is genuine and the credit bureau corrects it, it will have a positive impact on your credit report. If the charge is correct and no change is done to your credit report, then it will have no impact on your credit score. However, the dispute request will show up on your credit report.
Disputing a charge does not harm your credit score, but the credit card issuer can add a note to your credit report showing that the account is currently under dispute. Filing a dispute actually does not have any effect on your credit score but the outcome of the dispute might.
Points to Remember: Credit card companies usually give you about 30 days to dispute a charge. This policy varies with the credit card company. Once the dispute has been accepted, it will take about 30 45 days for your credit report to be updated and show the correct information.
Review All Of Your Credit Reports
Review all of your credit reports carefully. If you find a mistake on one it doesnt mean youll find the same mistake on your other two, but its worth double-checking to make sure no other errors have been made.
If the error you found on one report doesnt appear on the others, you only need to dispute it with the credit bureau that issued the report. If you do find the same mistake on one or more of your other reports, youre still technically required to dispute it only with the bureau that made it. Afterwards, that bureau should contact the others and inform them to remove it from your reports. That said, its best to contact all three credit bureaus yourself just to be sure the error is corrected in a timely manner.
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Is Your Credit Report Accurate
The information in your credit report can affect your buying power and your chance to get a job, rent or buy a place to live, and buy insurance. Credit bureaus sell the information in your report to businesses that use it to decide whether to loan you money, give you credit, offer you insurance, or rent you a home. Some employers use credit reports in hiring decisions. The strength of your credit history also affects how much you will have to pay to borrow money. Youll want to be sure the information in your report is both accurate and complete. Find out by regularly checking your credit report. You have the right to get free copies of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months. To get your free credit reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Through December 2022, everyone in the U.S. can get a free credit report each week from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at AnnualCreditReport.com. Also, anyone in the U.S. can get 6 free credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting the Equifax website or by calling 1-866-349-5191. Thats in addition to the one free Equifax report you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Disputes Related To Your Personal Information Or An Inquiry
- Added: This item was added to your credit report.
- The information you disputed has been updated on your credit report.
- Address Updated: This may appear to you as deleted’ as your address is updated to the current address.
- Deleted: The item was removed from your credit report.
- Processed: The item was either updated or deleted.
- Remains: The company reporting the information has certified to Experian that the information is accurate, so the item has not changed.
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How To Remove Negative Items From Your Credit Report Yourself
First, it’s important to know your rights when it comes to your credit history. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act , credit bureaus and lenders must ensure that the information they report is accurate and truthful.
This means that, if you find mistakes in your , you have the legal right to dispute them. And, if the bureaus find that the information you disputed doesnt belong in your record or is outdated, they are obligated to remove it.
Common credit report errors include payments mistakenly labeled as late or closed accounts still listed as open. It’s also possible for your report to include information from someone else, possibly someone with a similar name, Social Security number or identifying information.
Bear in mind that correct information cannot be removed from your credit report for at least seven years. So, if your score is low due to down because of accurate negative information, youll need to repair your credit over time by making payments on time and decreasing your overall amount of debt.
Here are some tips to help you repair your credit history: