01 Mar Guide on Disputing Credit Report Errors
We’ve all heard of how important it is to check your credit report before applying for a loan, especially a major one, in order to check if there’s anything that could be dragging your credit score down. In doing so, however, you need to know exactly which errors to spot, and how to correct them. Here are the steps.
Know What Entries Have to Be Disputed
Before anything else, it is important to know which types of entries can and are worth reporting to the credit reference agencies. If you think any information is inaccurate, outdated, or unverifiable, you can dispute them in order to fix any issues with your credit report, such as the following:
- Inaccurately reported accounts that don’t belong to you
- Payments that were incorrectly reported as late
- Incorrect creditors or providers
- Incorrect balances and credit limits
- Incorrect account status
How to File Your Dispute
There are actually three ways in which you can send your report to the credit reference agencies – via phone, mail, or online. If you decide to file by mail, you need to send an explanation letter detailing why you want the entry/entries to be disputed, including proof that they were indeed filed in error. While regular mail definitely takes the longest time, the good thing is that you’ll have a paper trail.
On the other hand, should you decide to file a dispute online, you can only obtain a dispute copy online, and will still have to send additional proof by mail. The upside is that online disputes are the fastest.
Lastly, if you want to file a dispute over the phone, you must have ordered a copy of your credit report at least once within the past month, and must provide your credit report number.
What Types of Proof Can You Send?
Any additional proof you may have to send depends on the nature of the error. For instance, if the error involves your account histories and payment activities, you may need to send your card statements that show your credit limits and outstanding balances, as well as cancelled cheques showing that you have paid your bills on time.
Which Items are the Hardest to Dispute?
If you have negative records such as repossession, foreclosure, IVA, and bankruptcy, these are the ones that will be most challenging to dispute. Normally, these entries will fall off your record after about 7 to 10 years, but if this proves to be difficult, you may need to contact the agency or court that reported the negative record. Once they have checked and updated your records, it will be easier to appeal to the credit reference agencies to have the negative entries removed.