Dispute Incorrect Data
There is no cost to dispute any items on your credit report. And you can dispute incorrect information in a variety of ways. Always start with a current copy of your credit report. Then, you can call the phone number on your credit report or use one of the following online apps from one of the following credit bureaus:
“In most cases, you only need to ask one credit bureau to dispute an account on your behalf. If your lender responds to a disputed item with a correction, they are required to report that corrected information to any credit reporting company to which they provide their data,” .
Some people think that disputing information on your credit report can hurt your credit scores, but that is not true. Disputes are not reported in your history and are not scored. Disputing inaccurate information is exactly what you should do to help ensure your credit history is correct. Another myth is that disputing information you believe is inaccurate will cause info to remain longer on your credit. Information is deleted based on the dates of missed payments or when the account was closed, for example.
CREDIT TIP: If you cannot resolve a disputed item with your lender, you may add a “Statement of Dispute” to your credit report explaining why the information is incorrect. The statement you write must be under 100 words, and should address why the info the lender is reporting is incorrect. For example, “Never missed any payments with [Lender Name].” This statement will remain on your report for two years and visible to anyone who has permission to review your report.
- Wait 30 days for removal or response from creditor.
When you dispute an item on your report, the credit bureau will contact the creditor to respond to the dispute. If no response is received within 30-45 days, the credit bureau will remove the account or correct the negative information and notify you of the results. If you disagree with the results, you may need to contact the creditor directly and provide additional documentation if your records do not agree with theirs.
CREDIT TIP: If you need additional help with debt or your credit, avoid going to a “credit repair clinic,” which could cost you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Instead, seek out an accredited non-profit credit counseling agency. And if you know of a great non-profit credit counseling agency, please share in the comments.
- Request a new report from each credit agency
After an item is corrected with one credit reporting company, wait three or four weeks before requesting a fresh credit report from the other credit bureaus. You want to give the creditor some time to report the corrected data. Getting a fresh report will ensure that the item has been removed or updated. You may also choose to purchase a credit score to see if your risk level has improved.