When financially stable, we typically do not pay much attention to our credit reports. The reason for that is that we expect that it will not be a problem tomorrow. And then life happens.
Stressed and strapped for cash, the last thing you want to do is to start a credit bureau dispute. You might be surprised, but inaccuracies on your credit report may limit your access to credit in some cases. While it may also increase the costs of obtaining credit in others.
The biggest study done by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 found that one in four consumers had at least one error on at least one of approximately three different credit reports.
Think not a big deal? Then think again. Errors on credit reports generally refers to delinquencies or defaults. For you, that means it remains there for seven years. So, you’d better check it on errors today to obtain and dispute credit scores on time.
How to Dispute a Credit Report and Win
Find it difficult to dispute something on your credit report? You are not alone. A big part of consumers is typically not aware of their rights. Do you know you can get your credit score for free? Unfortunately, roughly 90 percent of the eligible U.S. population doesn’t take advantage of this free benefit. To add, only 15.9 million credit-active adults do it free. In turn, 26 million consumers buy or receive credit reports from commercial credit monitoring services.
Why would you care about errors on a credit report? Well, first, errors can lower your credit score. As a result, it could hurt your ability to get new lines of credit. Second, you won’t be able to make the terms of credit more expensive.
Common errors that you might come across when checking your report are identity errors, duplication, balance, or account errors. In fact, unauthorized hard inquiries are not always legitimate. So, when monitoring your report, make sure each hard inquiry line item you see is legit. Even though some inaccuracies are less harmful than others, they can still lead to a world of financial hurt.
And in case of errors found, let the battle begin. Disputing a credit report is one thing. Disputing and winning is something else entirely. After all, your goal is to remove the error that harms you. You can dispute it at no cost. One thing it will take is your time and effort.
To begin to dispute a credit report item found, order a copy of your report from one of the three major credit reporting companies. No matter which one you will go for, they have 30 days to respond to you. Recently the CFPB has relaxed this rule saying that a company had to make a good-faith effort. They are also required to remove errors.
The hint: The three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — keep their own records. They don’t share it with one another, so it’s smart to contact each one.
Dispute Credit Reports Online
Wonder how to file a dispute with the credit bureau online? Sweet. Make it happen via mail or online at each of the major credit reporting companies’ websites. Moreover, you may file a dispute not only with the credit reporting company. It makes sense to send supporting materials directly to a furnisher.
But there is a trick, your dispute with the furnisher will not give you a right to seek legal relief if the latter mishandles your dispute. In turn, a dispute sent to the credit reporting company gives you that right.
Here is how to fix credit reports errors:
- Prepare dispute materials for each credit bureaus;
- Gather incorrect data including account statements and payment records;
- Write an explaining letter on your own. A standardized online form might simplify your dispute;
- Send all materials by email.
This would make it easier for you to confirm that the credit bureaus follow the lawful timelines. the credit bureaus are legally required to delete errors. Once you win your dispute, they must send you an updated copy of your report. Think of it as not your annual free credit report.
Now, when you know that you can dispute credit report free of charge, choose the route you like most. Whether it’s online or via mail, here is how to submit an online credit dispute to the three major credit reporting bureaus:
PO Box 4500 Allen,
PO Box 740256 Atlanta,
PO Box 2000 Chester,
If you want to dispute Trans Union credit report, you have a choice. Thus, you can do it either on the credit reporting company’s website or submit documents with your credit request through Credit Karma’s Direct Dispute feature.
The latter has helped to remove more than $10.2 billion in erroneous debt. Before submitting a Credit Karma dispute, there is one thing to keep in mind. Credit Karma isn’t able to make the change to your credit report.
Thus, when you comb through your credit report, be sure to check your other two credit reports as well. Once you see a mistake, gather the materials supporting your case and dispute Equifax credit report or the one from Experian.
And is it possible to win a no contract credit dispute? When the credit bureau starts investigating the issue, the collection agency needs to validate it. If there is no response from the latter, it becomes easier to make the no contract claim a success.
Dispute Hard Inquiries Credit Report
Credit report errors can be very costly when you choose sites like Credit Karma. Oftentimes, it comes in a form of high interest rates, higher insurance premiums, loan denial, and the like. You have the right to dispute credit report errors and the sooner, the better. Sure, it will take persistence and patience to dispute items on your credit report, but it’s worth the battle.
A hard inquiry is a part of a request process when you apply for a new credit product. The problem is that if legitimate, hard inquiries won’t require any action from your side. Yet, if unauthorized, you need to remove it from your report. Thing is, inaccurate hard inquiries could be a mistake or fraud.
Whether it’s a fraud, hard pull without your permission, or mistaken inquiry, it needs to be removed. If you think there’s an error on your statement, double-check the charge. Still incorrect? Then get in touch with the credit bureau right away. Remember, you have typically 60 days of the transaction date to dispute charges on credit report.
Inaccuracy could be the best reason to dispute credit report. To add, you’d better check it at all credit bureaus. Thus, you’ll be able to ensure your activity is tracked correctly everywhere. The incorrect hard inquiry could harm your credit until you take action and it would be removed from your report.
Credit Report Dispute Process
Hard inquiries alone are never the reason you can get a loan denial. Yet, if not legitimate, they can damage your credit score and limit your options. That’s why it always makes sense to dispute credit inquiries.
If the information on your credit report is in dispute, you are entitled to supply your own explanation about the dispute.
Sometimes, the credit report dispute process could be a long story. In general, it includes the following steps:
- Review your credit reports for errors;
- Get in touch with the furnisher. If there’s no success, contact the credit reporting bureau directly;
- Let the dispute process begin. Whether online, by mail, or phone, the dispute in writing will have much more effect. Supporting materials and the dispute letter written on your own are also a benefit. Keep copies for yourself;
- Investigation takes time. If everything is ok, you’ll get the results of the investigation in writing from all three major credit reporting bureaus within 30 days. The incorrect account gets marked as ‘disputed’. To add, you’ll get a free copy of your updated credit report.
If the investigation is still in process after the 30-day, the accounts gets a comment – ‘consumer disputes account’. If it is over, you’ll see ‘account was in dispute – now resolved’ comment.
Removing dispute comments from credit reports can benefit you in case of a positive history. Otherwise, your credit score is more likely to drop. The process to dispute credit report errors might be not an easy feat, yet it’s worth the effort. This is especially true if the truth is on your side. Take action before it is too late!