Did you know that almost 80% of credit reports have a mistake on them? Many times, these mistakes can keep you from getting loans, apartments, or even job offers. Your credit report and score are a huge part of your life, and if your report isn’t accurate, you could suffer serious financial damage. A poor credit score can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year! The problem is that many people don’t even know there are mistakes on their credit reports. If you haven’t checked your report in a while, order a copy of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus û Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion û today.
When you get your reports, which you can do instantly online, check them over carefully for errors. Sometimes they have clerical errors like incorrect or misspelled addresses or even names. Other times, the errors are with account information. Look for accounts you’ve closed, credit you never took out, or amounts that are reported inaccurately. Keep in mind that your scores are only updated once a month or so. If you’ve recently paid off a debt or closed an account, it may not yet be shown that way on your report, but this might not actually be inaccurate û just not up-to-date.
If you do see mistakes, which is likely considering the common nature of mistakes on these reports, you need to go about fixing it. Your first step is to contact the credit bureau. You can do this online. Basically, you’ll just ask them to look at that particular mistake, conduct research as to its accuracy, and take it off your account. The bureaus are required to respond to your request within three months by either removing the inaccurate information or by telling you why they can’t do that.
Sometimes things get a little messier than this. You may actually have to call the creditor or send a letter to have them report the closed account, settled debt, etc. to the credit bureau. Sometimes this takes a process of phone calls and letters sent before you can get rid of mistakes. It’s important that you keep going until the information is removed. Also, keep careful records of every single phone call or letter, along with what information you get back from the companies you’re communicating with. This will give you recourse in the case that the company tries to wiggle out of your claims of inaccuracy.