How to dispute credit report errors

If you are like most people in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, you want to maintain a high credit score. A low credit score can prevent you from getting loans and even places to live. However, your credit report may have errors, causing you to get declined for credit.

An overview of credit reports

Credit reports keep records of all your credit accounts and current balances lenders can view to determine creditworthiness. Your payment history, type and amount of debt, age of accounts, and negative marks figure in the FICO score. If you have delinquent accounts or a bankruptcy, it will likely make your FICO score drop.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a law that governs the data collected by reporting agencies for consumer protection and grants access to reports. Under this law, you are entitled to three free credit reports annually from all three bureaus.

Disputing a credit report error

A Federal Trade Commission study discovered 25% of consumers found mistakes in their credit report that may hurt creditworthiness. To start an investigation, review the report, and send a letter by certified mail or notify the bureau reporting the mistake online. If you submit the letter online, you should have identification ready, such as a driver’s license and utility bill.

Include your name, address, social security number birthdate, the error and the supporting documentation, and a copy of the report with the errors highlighted. You may try contacting the creditor or furnisher who made the error before contacting the bureaus. It commonly takes about 30 to 45 days before the bureau completes the investigation.

Keep records of all correspondence you submit to the bureaus and if you send it by mail, send it certified. If you aren’t satisfied with the investigation results, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.