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Credit reports and credit scores are used by lenders to determine whether or not they should lend you money and at what interest rate. They’re also used in the calculation of your car insurance premiums, when renting an apartment, and for some employment opportunities. Your credit report is involved in so much of your life’s decisions that it’s important to make sure the information it contains is correct. You could be paying the consequences due to errors in your report!
What happens if you find errors on your credit report? You need to take the following steps to make corrections on your credit report as soon as possible, so you can avoid paying higher interest rates than necessary, ensure you get approved for credit, pay lower car insurance premiums and get approved for rentals:
Look at Your Credit Report
Examine your credit report for errors. You can get a free annual report from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also call and request a free copy of your credit report from 1-877-322-8228. What many people do is request a free report from a different reporting agency every four months. That way, you can get multiple copies of your report over the course of each year to make sure no new errors are showing up.
If you are denied credit for any reason, you can also request a copy of your credit report for free to see why you were denied.
Start with the Credit Reporting Agency
If you see any errors on your report, contact the credit reporting agency which sent you the report, first. Send them a letter of explanation, include a copy of the credit report with the error highlighted, and make sure to request a correction of erroneously reported information or a deletion of an account that doesn’t belong to you.
Always Keep Good and Organized Documentation
If you have documentation to support your claims of an error on your credit report, make a photocopy and send it along with your letter to the credit reporting agency. Mail your supporting documentation, letter, and highlighted credit report by certified mail with return receipt requested, so you know when it is received.
Keep all correspondence relating to your financial accounts and even make notes of phone calls with dates, times, and who you spoke with. It may seem like a lot of work, but having this information will help support you should you find errors on your credit report in the future.
Contact the Creditor
Once you’ve contacted the credit reporting agency regarding the inaccurate information, also send a copy of the documentation and highlighted credit report to the creditor in question. Include a note that let’s them know what you’re disputing with them and why. When this credit sends information to the credit reporting agencies, they will also include a note that the account is under dispute.
What Happens To Errors on Credit Reports
After you notify the credit reporting agency and the creditors with inaccurate information, if it is found that you’ve reported information that is in fact inaccurate – it must be corrected on the report. If the creditor cannot verify the information you’ve indicated, the account must be deleted from your credit report all together.
It can take months to correct mistakes on your credit report, but with patience and determination – you will get it taken care of. Once you’ve received notification that the error has in fact been corrected, order another copy of your credit report to make sure it has been corrected appropriately.