You should never assume that your credit report is 100 percent accurate. Even if this is the case today, an error could show up tomorrow. And if it does, it could have an impact on your credit score and ability to secure a loan.
The best thing you can do is get into the habit of reviewing your credit report once or twice a year. When doing so, carefully review each line for errors. Some of the most common include:
- Inaccurate personal information: This can include things such as the wrong middle initial, wrong address or wrong Social Security number. These are all details that you want to correct as soon as possible.
- Accounts that don’t belong to you: Even if the account is in good standing, you don’t want it on your credit report. This is often the first sign of identity theft, so it’s important to dig deeper.
- Duplicate accounts: If an account, such as a credit card, is listed twice, it can impact your utilization ratio. Subsequently, if your utilization ratio is higher than it should be, your credit score will suffer.
- Outdated information: An example would be an account with inaccurate information on how much you currently owe.
- Inaccurate payment history: You’re well aware that a missed payment or late payment can lower your credit score. So, if you come across this on your credit report, make sure it’s 100 percent accurate. If you don’t remember the missed or late payment, file a dispute with the appropriate credit bureau and contact the creditor.
What should you do next?
If you review your credit report and find that it’s 100 percent accurate, you’re good to go for the time being. However, if you realize that there’s something wrong, you shouldn’t wait to take action.
Filing a dispute with the credit bureau is the first step, as they can investigate your claim and determine what to do next. If you don’t get satisfaction, you may have to consult with the creditor to learn more.
You have legal rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), so don’t hesitate to take action if you’re unable to find a resolution on your own. This is much better than letting an error remain, as it will impact your finances in many ways.