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A Guide to Disputing a Credit Report

By Mahalia Boyd, UniteNews Contributing Writer

 

This is just what you need to add to your, “To Do List.” By regularly checking your credit bureau report, you can monitor your financial health and overall well-being. Your credit report serves as a comprehensive record of your credit history. It is a factor in determining your creditworthiness. One of the primary reasons to check your credit report regularly is to identify and rectify any errors or inaccuracies that may be present. These errors can take on a variety of forms and include:

  • To identify mistakenly reported accounts or personal information like your name, address, and social security number.
  • To address incorrect account statuses like showing a closed account as open or inaccurate payment history.
  • To monitor fraudulent activity shows unfamiliar accounts or credit inquiries resulting in identity theft or fraud.

 

Errors in your credit report can adversely affect your credit score. The ratings are as follows:

  • 800-850 Excellent
  • 740 to 799 Very Good
  • 670 to 739 Good
  • 580 to 669 Fair
  • 300 to 579 Poor

 

A lower credit score can lead to difficulties in obtaining loans, credit cards, or mortgages and can contribute to higher interest rates when you qualify for credit. Monitoring your credit report helps you spot signs of identity theft early. If you notice an unfamiliar account or inquiry, you can take immediate action to prevent further potential fraudulent activity.

Your credit report is a valuable tool for financial planning. Lenders, landlords, and sometimes potential employers may use it to assess your financial responsibility and trustworthiness. Ensuring its accuracy can enhance your chances of securing loans, renting or purchasing a home, or even getting a job.

Addressing errors can be a time-consuming process. You must contact each agency, provide evidence of the inaccuracies, and follow up until the issues are resolved. Leaving errors unresolved can lead to long-term consequences, including damage to your credit and difficulty accessing financial products or services.

Always keep a copy of your dispute letter and correspondence for your records. I suggest sending it by certified mail with a return receipt to ensure delivery.

In summary, regularly checking your credit report is essential for identifying errors, protecting your credit score, preventing identity theft, and making informed financial decisions. You can request inquiries online, handwritten or typed. The websites, a sample letter, and addresses are as follows:

www.equifax.com, click Credit Report Help, then click on Dispute Equifax credit report.

www.experian.com, click Credit Support, then click on Dispute.

www.transunion.com, click Consumer Support, then click on Dispute Credit Report.

 

Sample Form Letter

Dear Credit Bureau Name:

I am writing to dispute the accuracy of information on my credit bureau report by your agency. I believe there are inaccuracies in the information reported. I am requesting in writing an investigation into this matter. Please find the details of the disputed account below:

Creditor

Account Number 

Account Type 

Date of Last Activity

*Describe the specific information you are disputing. 

     For example, late payments, incorrect balances, closed accounts, and late fees. I feel the information in the statement is inaccurate. List any supporting documents like payment receipts or correspondence from the creditor.

     Additionally, I’m requesting you provide me with a written response detailing the result of your investigation within 30 days of receiving this dispute letter per the guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Report Act.

Respectfully,

[Your Name]

 

Mail Credit Report Disputes to the following:

Equifax Disclosure Dept., PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374 800.685.1111

Experian, PO Box 4500 Allen, TX 75013 888.397.3742 888.397.3742

TransUnion Consumer Relations, PO Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016 800.916.8800

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