Home > 2011 > Credit Score

Correcting Errors on Your Credit Report

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 2 Comments

Taking the time to periodically get a copy of your credit report to ensure all the information being reported on you is accurate, can make the process of applying for credit in the future that much easier.  What happens if you find errors on your credit report?  How should you go about getting them resolved and how long does it take?

[Resource: How to Order Your Free Annual Credit Report]

If you find mistakes on your credit report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), gives you the right to submit a dispute to remove inaccurate information.  The good news is that the credit bureaus have created processes (both electronically and via regular mail) that make the process fairly streamlined to resolve a dispute in a relatively quick time frame.

1. Get a copy of your credit report. All U.S. consumers can get a free copy of their credit reports once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com, the federally mandated website created by the FTC.  You are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you are denied credit and your credit report was used by the lender to make the credit granting decision (referred to as an adverse action notice). The adverse action notice will explain why you were denied, which credit reporting agency was used to access your report and instructions on how to obtain a free copy of your credit report from the appropriate credit bureau(s).

2. Review for mistakes. Check your report carefully for any mistakes (indications of late payments that never happened, credit obligations being reported that are not yours, etc.)

3. Dispute any errors. If you find a mistake, complete the forms (online or via regular mail – whichever is easiest for you).  You should also alert (in writing) the information provider (the lender who reported the information for example). If you have statements or cancelled checks that support your claim, include copies of them with your statement. In your dispute, include your name, complete address, the information you are disputing, and the reason the information is not accurate.

4. Disputes through the mail. If not disputing via the online option, send your credit report dispute via certified mail with return receipt requested. This way you not only have proof that you sent the dispute, but also that the credit bureau received your dispute. Keep a copy of the letter along with any enclosures you send.

By law, the credit bureau has 30 days to investigate your dispute and respond to you with the results of the investigation. Any data you provided about the inaccuracy of the information will be forwarded to the original information provider. The information provider is then required to investigate and respond back to the credit bureau.  Once the investigation is complete, the credit bureau will provide you with the results, along with a free copy of your credit report if the dispute resulted in a change. You can request that the credit bureau send a correction notice to any company that accessed your credit report within the past six months.

[Featured Tool: Get your free Credit Report Card from Credit.com]

When the credit bureau receives notice of your dispute, they will place a code in your credit report indicating the item is under dispute.  Some lenders may have rules in place that require additional review for  any credit reports on credit applicants that have dispute codes on the credit report.  In addition, many credit scores have special logic incorporated that will by-pass the disputed information for some of the credit attributes the score considers.  Once the dispute is resolved, the code is removed or replaced to reflect the latest status.

If you see errors on your credit report from one of the credit bureaus, it is probable that same inaccurate information is being reported to the other two.  Note, the credit bureaus have an electronic system to facilitate the sharing of dispute resolutions amongst each other to help ensure accuracy of your information across all three.  However, for peace of mind, you may want to check that any inaccurate information has been corrected has been done so at all three credit bureaus.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Tom

    I had an account with Chevron 20 years ago. I owed $250 but didn’t pay it for 60 days or so and they closed my account in 1993. I paid off the balance shortly thereafter, but the damage was done and for years my credit report stated “account closed at creditor’s request.” This item is STILL on my credit report today under “closed accounts” even though I’ve asked the credit reporting agencies to remove it. In the last credit report I pulled in December 2010, the status details state: “this account is scheduled to continue on record until Apr 2018.”

    How can they kept renewing the removal date? I thought negative items like this were supposed to drop off after seven years? Or is this not considered to be a negative item because even though the account was closed by the creditor, I paid it off?

  • Tammy

    I disputed 2 judgements with all 3 credit bureaus. They were deleted by Transunion but not the other two. They were reported as “remains” or “verified”. How can I get them to remove these items?

  • Pingback: How Can I Erase Judgments From My Credit Reports? | ComparePlastic()

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team