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How to Fix Mistakes on your Credit Report

Regularly checking and reviewing your credit report are the two key things which can help you to achieve and maintain an accurate credit report. Checking your credit repot regularly will allow you to see any inaccurate information and will give you an opportunity to correct any mistakes.

Everyone is able to receive one free copy of their credit report once a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion). You can order online from annualcreditreport.com, they are the only authorized website for free annual credit reports, or you can call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity. For more information about getting your free copy click the link below. www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports.

Blemishes on your credit report, even if they are mistakes could mean you will not get approved for credit or you could be made to pay a higher interest rate. Now you have your annual information, it is time to fix it. Fixing your credit means to restore the information held by the credit bureau’s to its right and honest place. You’re only able to fix errors that actually happen. You cannot have anything true removed from your credit report. True negative marks will fall off your credit report after seven years. So you shouldn’t try to argue against accurate information.  However, when you check your credit report you should dispute any inaccurate information. You should also make sure your name is spelled correctly.

Report any inaccurate information to the credit reporting company who provided you with the report such as, Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. You will want to make sure you provide them with your complete name and address, each item you’re disputing, and why, copies (not originals) of documents that support your position, a request that the mistake(s) be removed or corrected. You might want to also enclose a copy of your report, with the items in question circled. Send your letter by certified mail and pay for a “return receipt” so you have a record the credit bureau got it. Keep copies of everything you sent.” Disputes can be sent to:

Equifax
P.O. Box 7404256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
Experian
Dispute Department
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion
Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

Next inform the company who provided the inaccurate information to the credit bureau directly and asked them to remove it. Again, make sure you have any supporting documents ready. Many businesses specify an address for disputes. If the business reports the item to a credit bureau, it must include a notice of your dispute. If after 30 days this does not work take your information to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to have them correct it. Once it is corrected, check the other 2 remaining credit reporting agencies to see if they have the same mistake on their records. If so, you can file a dispute with them also.

The Federal Trade Commission also has a page set on their site dedicated to help you dispute inaccurate information. www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/fixing-your-credit. There you will find helpful information and sample dispute letters you can download.

You now have all the inaccurate information taken off your credit report, now you must maintain a healthy credit history in the future. In some cases rebuilding your credit, is the only way to fix it, after you have corrected the mistakes. Payment history is the most important part of your credit report. Just one late payment can dramatically affect it. Make all payments on time, and make sure only accurate information is being reported.

If you need any assistance with any of the topics discussed in this article be sure to reach out to our office, either by email at cccswichita@kscccs.org or give us a call at 316-265-2000.