In this article, I’m going to discuss, how to dispute your credit report information.
First, you need access to your credit report. You can get your free credit report from Annual Credit Report every 12 months.
If you feel that a credit report does not reflect your actual credit history, you can take action by disputing the information. You can dispute items such as collections, hard inquiries, late payments and bankruptcies.
5 Ways To Dispute Your Credit Report Information
How To Freeze Your Credit
The reason why you want to freeze your credit is to prevent the three main credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, from being able to cross reference their data with SageStream and LexisNexis, so you should freeze your credit with these two entities before you start to dispute.
Remove Old and Outdated Addresses
When you remove your old addresses the credit bureaus electronic verification system (E-Oscar) will sometimes automate deletions when the address on your credit report cannot match up with the account information stored at the creditor.
Sometimes old charge-offs or collection accounts can be tied directly to the old addresses so removing them can help your credit report if they are removed.
How To File A Dispute
- If the information on your credit report is inaccurate you can simply contact the credit bureaus on your own to dispute the inaccurate item.
- Dispute missing Information on your credit report. You cannot remove legally accurate and timely information from your credit report – for better or for worse. But the law allows you to request an inquiry into any information in your file. That you believe is outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete. You can get your free dispute letters here.
- Send a dispute letter to any of three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) that have inaccurate information. Make sure you provide proof of this error with your letter and keep a copy for your records.
- After the bureau receives the dispute, it contacts the source who provided the data. This source has 30 days to respond. If the source cannot verify the data within the permitted period, the information must be deleted from your report. If the information has been verified and they find the information to be correct the item will remain on your credit report. In either case, you be sent a letter of any action that may result from your dispute.
- If you are unhappy with the outcome of your dispute. And feel that you have been treated unfairly or not taken seriously, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Include positive information in your credit report. The best way to include positive information in your credit report is to pay your creditors on time and in full every month. Do this for a year or more, and you’ve made great strides in improving your credit history and your credit score.
How To Dispute Collections From Your Credit Report
- If the negative item is nearing the time it will be removed you may choose to let the item drop of naturally. (Hard Inquiries fall off after 2 years, bankruptcies fall off after 7-10 years, defaulted student loans and unpaid child support may remain until satisfied) most negative information won’t last longer than seven years from the date of the last activity. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will show up for ten years.
- If you have accounts in collections, you can either pay them in full or offer a settlement. If you pay it off make sure you get it writing that the creditor will remove the item from your credit report. Settled accounts don’t look as good on a report as those that are fully satisfied.
Reasons You Can Dispute Hard Inquiries
- Claiming and proving you are a victim of identity theft
- Disproving a factual record of access
- Proving a lack of permissible purpose – you did not authorize the hard inquiry, or remember authorizing it.
Related: What Is A Hard Inquiry
Can disputing hurt your credit?
No disputing will not affect or hurt your credit in anyway. In some cases it might improve your credit score if you successfully dispute item from your credit report.
What is the fastest way to file a dispute on my credit report?
The fastest way to file a dispute would be online or through an app, if you have an account with any of the three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. While this might be the fastest way to get in touch with the credit bureau, the best outcome will come from sending a letter with proof and an explanation of the error to the credit bureaus.
If you have a bad credit score disputing items from your credit report can help increase your credit score but we have also included a list of the easy ways to increase your credit score.
How To Start Using Credit Responsibly
After you have disputed items from your credit report it’s time to start rebuilding your credit. These are the next steps you should take to begin rebuilding the credit that you deserve:
- Get a secured credit card or a self credit building loan to reestablish credit. The sooner you begin to borrow and repay the money the faster you can repair your credit.
- Use a secured credit card to pay expenses or inexpensive every day items like groceries, and gas.
- Always pay on time and never carry a balance. This will create positive credit history.
Do you have bad credit, no credit, or want to learn how to become a credit expert?
Check out our credit repair training & learn:
- What your actual credit score is
- How to get a copy of your free credit report
- How to get your credit back on track today
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