One of the most important reasons to regularly check your credit reports is to make sure they’re accurate. Credit report errors can make a huge mess of your finances, particularly if they drag down your credit score right when you’re thinking of applying for a credit card or a loan.
Disputing credit report errors is (theoretically) a simple process: You write a clear, concise dispute letter and send it to the credit bureau(s) reporting the error, or you can go through the bureau’s online dispute system. You won’t need to write a letter, but you’ll have to explain what the error is. (Here are some detailed tips on how to go about disputing a credit report error.)
How Do I Handle Multiple Errors?
Things can get a little trickier when you’re dealing with multiple errors. If nothing else, it’ll likely be more time-consuming than disputing a single inaccuracy. Unless there are several errors within one account trade line on a single credit report, you’ll need to dispute each issue separately.
“The consumer must file a dispute for each item they disagree with,” a spokeswoman for Experian explained in an email. “Each item is verified based on the consumer dispute information.”
It’s important to know that the three major credit reporting agencies are independent of each other, so even if you see the exact same error on all three reports, you need to send dispute letters and evidence of the error to each bureau.
Cleaning Up Your Credit
Other than the cost of postage (and the cost of your time), you can potentially fix your credit for free, all by yourself. The first step, of course, is to thoroughly check your credit reports so you know the scope of the issue. (You pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also view your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)
If you’re struggling to get things resolved or don’t have the time to deal with correcting credit report errors, you could also consider paying for the help of a professional. A reputable credit repair company will be upfront about exactly how it can and cannot help you and won’t promise a specific improvement to your credit score (that’s illegal). Again, this is something you can do for free, but there can be value in having someone else do it for you, especially if you have error-ridden credit reports and want to clean them up as quickly as possible.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- What’s a Bad Credit Score?
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life