Fixing Errors in Your Credit Report Matters

Errors made when it comes to your information are normal but there are errors that need to be corrected and arrested soonest especially when it will affect your credit standing and how lending entities and creditors will look at your creditworthiness.  Not only that, these errors may play a vital role in living your life – and you will never know when.

What is a Credit Report?

Your credit report is a statement that reflects a detailed breakdown of your credit history such as your payment activity and the status of your credit accounts, if any.  This report is unique to you as no two people may have the same credit history as it is.  However, you may have more than just one credit report.

Your financial data is submitted by creditors – such as credit card companies, lending companies and other financial entities – to the credit reporting companies or also known as credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies.  Your data gathered will be used to serve any of the following purposes:  

  • For businesses – they will use your data in cases where you need to rent a house or apartment, offer you insurance, provide you with their Internet or phone services or utility.
  • For employers – they may use your credit report data to decide about your employment.
  • For lenders – your credit report will make it easier for them to decide on whether they will grant you some loan, what interest they will offer you, and check on whether you are keeping up with the terms of your current existing accounts.

There are three credit reporting companies that receive your financial data – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.  Now, these credit reporting companies are each required to give you a free report yearly.

What Information Is In My Credit Report?

Your personal information is in your credit report such as your:

  • Name, or any other name you might have used in your other credit account;
  • Birth date;
  • Past and current addresses;
  • Social Security number;
  • Spouse (if you are married);
  • Co-applicant (if any); and
  • Phone or contact numbers.

Aside from your personal information, your credit report also reflects your credit accounts that compromise most content of the report and very much detailed.  These include:

  • Your past and current credit accounts classified accordingly:
    – Revolving accounts – credit cards and lines of credit; and
    – Installment loans – personal loans, student loans; mortgages, and car loans
  • Credit limit;
  • Account balance;
  • History of account payments;
  • Name of creditors; and
  • Dates when the account was opened and closed.

Your credit accounts will be categorized in your credit report into:

  • Open;
  • Negative;
  • Closed; or
  • Charged off or sent to collection (happens when you miss payments for the account).

A trade line is tagged for each credit account you have which records all activity in line with the credit account.

Your public records are also included in your credit report.  These records are:

  • Bankruptcies;
  • Foreclosures;
  • Liens;
  • Civil suits and judgments; and
  • Child support information.

Moreover, companies that may have accessed your credit report are also reflected in the report.

What are the Common Errors in My Credit Report?

Errors in your credit report may have been contributed by various factors and one factor could be you.  Make sure that you are consistent in the information you indicate in your credit report or you may apply for credit on another person’s name.

Let us take a look at the common credit report errors:

  • Identity information errors
    – Errors in your name, address, phone number, Social Security Number
    – Incorrect accounts as a result of identity theft
    – mixed file which usually happens when your identity information was mixed with another person because you may have similar names or the same name
  • Inaccurate account status reporting
    – Accounts that are falsely reported as delinquent or late
    – Open accounts that are reported closed
    – Inaccuracies in payment dates (open, last and close dates, and first date of delinquency)
    – Reported as the account owner when you are an authorized user
    – Multiple listings of the same debt which may be brought about by the possibility of using different names
  • Account errors
    – Incorrect credit limit
    – Incorrect current account balance
  • Information management errors
    – Multiple appearance of account with different creditors
    – Addition of erroneous information after data has been changed.

How Do I Fix Errors in My Credit Report?

Fixing credit report errors is critical and essential as this will do the talking for you when it comes to your credit history.  Make sure that you have the errors corrected soonest to avoid getting yourself into much trouble when you need your credit report for any purpose.

Here is a list of what you need to do to fix credit report errors:

  • Contact the credit bureau that sent you the report and the creditors (“furnisher” of information) that provided the erroneous information in your credit report.  Provide them with the information about your dispute.  Prepare copies of documents that will support your argument.

Your communication with the credit bureau and the furnisher of information should include your:
– complete name;
– complete address;
– each item for dispute;
– statement of facts and reasons for the dispute; and
– request for correction or deletion.

  • Write the furnisher that you are disputing the information errors provided to a particular credit bureau.  You may want to include copies of documents that will support your dispute.  Make sure that you have a copy of all documents related to your filing the dispute.

What Do I Expect After the Dispute with a Credit Bureau?

It is important that you know what happens after the dispute communication. 

  • The credit bureau has 30 days to investigate your dispute after you filed the request.
  • A notice with the reasons stated therein should be given to you by your credit bureau should they find your request irrelevant or insignificant.  They will also stop the investigation.
  • All proof about your dispute will be forwarded by the credit bureau to the concerned furnisher, which in turn makes the investigation and reports back the investigation results to the credit bureau.  Should the furnisher confirms that errors are committed from their end, they should inform that 3 credit bureaus so correction of information in your credit report may be made.
  • If the dispute results in a change, the credit bureau must provide you with a free copy of your credit report along with the written results.
  • Verify the erroneous information has been deleted from your credit report by checking your credit report. Check to see if the credit bureaus have received a notice that you are disputing the information if the furnisher continues to report the disputed information.

Not only does your credit report play a vital role in your creditworthiness but it also plays as your significant identifier in cases of identity theft.

Disclaimer: Freedom Law is not a credit repair agency and does not offer any credit repair services. Freedom Law is a bankruptcy law firm. This blog post does not offer any legal advice and is published for informational purposes only.

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