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How to dispute an error on your credit report

An error on your credit report can have significant impact. Find out what to do when it happens.

17 November 2022Lloyd Smith 5 min read
dispute errors, credit report, credit score, experian

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There are many factors that can directly impact your credit score and influence the decision of the lenders to extend a new line of credit to you. An error on your credit report can have a significant negative impact on your credit score and even make it difficult for you to get approved for new credit card offers or loans. It can also affect the interest rates you get offered by banks and financial institutions..

It’s important to dispute errors on your credit report to get them removed as soon as possible and ensure they don’t cause any long-term damage to your credit score.

In this article, we discuss how you can dispute error on credit reports and get them removed quickly:

Finding an error when you are reviewing your credit report can be a confusing experience, especially if it's the first time. Now, there can be several reasons as to why an error has ended up on your credit report.

Maybe you made a mistake when filling up a form with a lender which led to the error on the credit report. Maybe the creditor or the banks just ended up sending the wrong information to the credit bureau. Or maybe there was an issue with the credit bureau itself which led to wrong information being uploaded on your credit report.

In some rare cases, fraudulent activity led by scammers can also lead to suspicious loans or hard credit inquiries on your credit report. There have been instances of scammers stealing personal and banking information of unsuspecting people to initiate identity theft and take out new loans or credit cards.

You may not even realise there have been loans or credit cards issued under your name without your knowledge, until you end up checking your credit report or receiving a credit card payment bill that they didn’t know even existed, All of this can impact your credit score directly. Therefore, it is imperative to routinely monitor your credit report and scan it for any discrepancies.

Errors on your credit report can include:

  • Incorrect personal information like misspelt names, wrong addresses or incorrect phone number
  • Incorrect accounts listed on your credit report. Closed accounts may be still listed as open or vice versa
  • Incorrect account balances on the accounts
  • Incorrect credit limits as that can directly affect the credit utilisation ratio
  • Incorrect hard inquiries that you don’t recognise. Credit card providers or loan providers cannot initiate hard inquiries without your consent. When financial institutions automatically check your account for pre-approved offers, it is still counted as a soft inquiry and it doesn’t get added to your credit report.
  • Bill payments that are reported as late or pending when they have already been paid from your end.

All the major credit reporting bureaus provide free credit reports to individuals. You can sign up with a free credit report provider like ClearScore to get your credit report directly emailed to you and check for any discrepancies.

In case you do see some errors, the first thing you need to do is reach out to your credit provider like banks, utility companies, or telecom companies. This is to ensure that the discrepancy isn’t from their end.

If that doesn’t work, you should then reach out to the credit bureau about it. All the major credit reporting bodies allow you to dispute inaccuracies in credit reports. You can either file a complaint online or you can also directly contact them through mail or phone number.

Here’s the information for filing disputes with the major credit bureaus:

All the major credit reporting bureaus provide free credit reports to individuals. You can sign up with a free credit report provider like ClearScore to get your credit report directly emailed to you and check for any discrepancies.

In case you do see some errors, the first thing you need to do is reach out to your credit provider like banks, utility companies, or telecom companies. This is to ensure that the discrepancy isn’t from their end.

If that doesn’t work, you should then reach out to the credit bureau about it. All the major credit reporting bodies allow you to dispute inaccuracies in credit reports. You can either file a complaint online or you can also directly contact them through mail or phone number.

Here’s the information for filing disputes with the major credit bureaus:

Experian

To dispute error on Experian credit report, you can follow one of the following three steps:

  1. Fill up the dispute details online on Experian’s online dispute form present on the Experian Dispute centre. You will have to click on ‘Start a new dispute’ and then add the reason for the dispute.
  2. Call the Experian customer service directly at 866-200-6020. This might take more time due to waiting for customer agents and then sharing all the information over the phone
  3. Write a dispute letter mentioning all the inaccuracies and why they should be removed/ replaced from your credit report. You can then mail the letter directly to Experian.

Equifax

To dispute errors on your Equifax credit report, you can follow one of the following three steps:

  1. File an online complaint through the Equifax correction portal
  2. Reach out to the Equifax customer service on the number 866-349-5191 in order to see if your issue can be resolved over the phone
  3. Mail a dispute letter to Equifax detailing the errors and the Equifax corrections. Note that in case of a letter, you will have to provide identification information and follow up documents so Equifax can verify your identity and make the changes.

The exact time it takes to remove a credit report error can depend on the type of error and the time that it takes for the credit reporting bureau to verify the information. The time will also vary according to the credit reporting bureau and the way you register your error dispute.

For instance, if you file your dispute online, it is likely to get received right away and you will probably hear back quickly. On the other hand, when you file a dispute through mail, it may take longer for it to get resolved since you have to take into account the time that it takes for the letter to reach the credit reporting agency.

On an average, it can take anywhere between 30-45 days for a credit reporting bureau to resolve and close a dispute.

Credit reporting companies start by looking into the dispute and investigating it. If the reporting bureau determines that your claim is frivolous at the start, it may not dig deeper at all and send you a notice within five days of receiving the dispute claim.

If the claim is considered not frivolous at the start, the reporting bureau will then look at supporting documents to analyse the accuracy of your claims.

  • In case your claim is considered true, the credit reporting company will have to update your credit report with the accurate information and notify you about the same
  • In case the credit bureau determines that the information on your credit report was already accurate and there is no need for any update or removal, they will share a statement explaining the same. This statement may also be added to your credit report.

Whenever you end up seeing an error on your credit report, it's important to dispute the error as soon as possible so that it can be corrected before it can cause any permanent damage to your credit score. Sure disputing errors on credit reports can be time-consuming, but getting higher credit scores and lower interest rates from lenders will definitely be worth it.

With ClearScore, you can check your free credit score and report and routinely review it for any discrepancies in just a few clicks.


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Written by Lloyd Smith

General Manager AU

Lloyd spreads the word about how awesome ClearScore is.