Scrub Your Credit Report for Errors
Your credit report is used to calculate your credit score. Your score ultimately determines whether you qualify for a loan, credit card, house, etc. Recently, your credit score can even lock you out of an apartment or a job.
Unfortunately, errors can sneak into credit reports all the time. You might be dinged for a late payment or an account for another “John Smith”. If your credit report has incorrect information, there are some tricks you can use to clean up your credit score, and ultimately increase your credit score. Here are some great tips to help you get your correct credit score you deserve:
Check Your Report
The first thing you need to do is check your credit report. If you don’t know what the credit reporting agencies have on you, you won’t be able to clean up your credit. There are 3 credit reporting bureaus: Transunion, Experian and Equifax. These are the agencies that create your credit scores.
There are several agencies, which can give you access to your credit score for all three companies at once. If you prefer, you can contact each reporting agency separately, a few months apart and have a good picture of your credit score throughout the year. It is always important to take major caution when checking your credit score. Some checks may decrease your credit score. Always consult with a professional before checking your credit score.
Look For Errors
Once you have your credit report in hand, you can search for errors. If you find a payment discrepancy, or incorrect credit account, you can file a dispute with the credit bureaus. Unfortunately, you bear the responsibility to clean up your own credit. If you find errors, do not delay; file a dispute as soon as possible.
Each credit bureau allows you to file a dispute online. However, most experts suggest sending your dispute through the mail. Each bureau has a specific list of dispute reasons, which may not fit your circumstance. If you file online, you may find yourself accepting some legal language you may not understand or intend. It is very important to do this so you can retrieve your correct credit score.
Fill out the right paper work. Each credit bureau has its own form to file a dispute. You can also include a sample letter from the FTC to further explain your concerns.
When you write your dispute letter, be crystal clear about your issues. You have to assume that the credit bureaus are coming from a perspective of correct information. You have to convince them with facts and figures. If you have proof you paid a bill on a certain date, but the bureau shows a late payment, show the dates and figures.
Before you send the letters and forms, make copies. When you send the information through the mail, make sure to get a tracking number, so you have proof of when the letter was received. If you speak with someone at the credit agency, note their name, the date and time of the talk, and what you talked about. Documentation will help the process moving forward.
Be patient. Unfortunately, you may have to wait approximately 45 days for the credit bureau to review your dispute. During this time, the credit bureau will be researching your dispute with the reporting bank. When you receive an answer, you will be informed if the item was deleted, fixed, or unchanged.
If your dispute is denied, you can refile. But be aware that you will need to be more complete in your documentation. If you aren’t sure what to do, you might consult an attorney or a professional to help you create a better dispute.
If your credit report has issues, there are options to clean up your report. Your credit is very important and you should always resolve errors. Good luck retrieving your correct credit score, and thanks for reading!