According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in five people have an error on at least one of their credit reports. Errors on your credit reports can lower your score, which could hurt your ability to get new lines of credit or make the terms of your credit more expensive. Ultimately, these errors could be costing you money.
You can get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting companies at www.annualcreditreport.com . You can request all three reports at once, or request one every few months to review your information throughout the year. If you find errors, you can dispute them at no cost to you with both the credit reporting company and the company that provided the information. (add three bureau logos to this page).
To get mistakes corrected, you may contact both the credit reporting company and the company that provided the information to the credit reporting company (also known as the “information furnisher”). You may file a dispute not only with the credit reporting company, but also directly with the information furnisher, and include the same supporting documentation.
For more information on how to dispute errors on your credit report, you can use these sample letters and instructions:
Once you get your credit reports, you’ll want to review them carefully. You can use the list below to check for common errors and make sure your credit reports are accurate and up-to-date. Each of the credit reporting companies may have different information in your credit report – that’s why you should request your report from each of them.
- Errors in your identity data, such as wrong name, phone number, or address
- Accounts belonging to another person with the same or similar name to you
- Incorrect accounts resulting from identity theft
Reporting of account status
- Closed accounts reported as open
- You’re reported as the owner of the account, when you’re just an authorized user
- Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent
- Incorrect date of last payment, date opened, or date of first delinquency
- Same debt listed more than once
- Accounts with incorrect current balance
- Accounts with incorrect credit limit
Data management errors
- Reinsertion of incorrect information after it was corrected
- Accounts that appear multiple times with different creditors listed
Looking for a step-by-step guide to reviewing your credit reports?
Download the Credit Report Review Checklist to keep it on file with your credit reports.
Many credit repair companies offer consumers a way to “repair” their credit, which is simply a different way of stating that they will dispute items on a credit report on behalf of a consumer. You, the consumer, can do all of this free of charge. It is important to know that credit “repair” companies do not have the ability to obtain a copy of your credit report as the credit bureaus prohibit access to such entities. The best way to review your credit, update or dispute accounts is to use the free resources offered by www.annualcreditreport.com.