How To Dispute Your Credit Report

Posted on 31st Jan, 2017 by Barbara Davidson

You may know what your current credit score is, but when was the last time you looked at your full credit report?

Besides applying for a credit card or a loan, your credit report is used for a myriad of other purposes — including applying for insurance and employment background checks — that you may be unaware of. If you don’t annually review your credit report, there’s a chance it contains errors. If the errors are big enough, they could seriously jeopardize you chances at getting insurance, landing a job or more!

Ordering Your Report 

Before you can dispute any errors on your credit report, you need to get a copy to look through. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires all three of the nation’s top credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and Transunion — to send a free copy of your credit when requested, once every 12 months.

You can request a copy of your report online at annualcreditreport.com, by phone at 1-877-322-8228 or by filling out the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to the following address:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105281

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Since you can receive one credit report from each agency, try staggering your requests so you can receive one report every four months. You can keep a closer eye on any changes this way.

How to File a Dispute  

If you discover an error on your report, you’ll typically have anywhere from 30 – 60 days to send them a letter detailing the inaccuracy. It’s not an option for the credit reporting company to simply ignore your letter — they are required by FCRA law to correct any inaccurate information in your report.

You will need to include the incorrect information from your credit report in your letter, as well as the following information and documents:

If you need help formatting your letter, you can use this sample dispute letter provided by the Fair Trade Commission.

You will also need to send a letter to the information provider that furnished the credit reporting agency with the actual data listed on your report. Again, you can use a sample dispute letter template from FTC for this send as well. Similar to the letter to the credit reporting agency, you’ll need to include copies of documents that back up your claim of inaccurate information.

There may be an address for the provider listed in your credit report. Use that address. If, however, there is not, contact the provider (whose name at least will be provided) and request an address.

Be sure to keep a copy of the disputed credit report and all of your letters for documentation purposes. Also consider paying the extra dollar or two and send your letter by certified mail so you can request a return receipt — this will allow you to document what exactly the credit reporting company and information provider received from you.

How Do I Know When the Matter Is Resolved?

According to FCRA laws, credit reporting companies must investigate your dispute within 30 days (unless they consider your dispute unfounded).

After it finishes its investigation, the credit reporting agency will send you two things:

Be sure to keep your copy of the report if you ever need to refer back to it.

References:

(n.d.). Disputing errors on credit reports. Retrieved January 19, 2007, from https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0151-disputing-errors-credit-reports

About Barbara Davidson

Babs is a content writer at Enova International, Inc. with a Bachelors in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Illinois (ILL-INI!). She loves binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! Find out more about her on Google+.