As Americans, a large part of our adult life is dictated by our credit score. It would be in our best interest then, to make sure that everything on there is supposed to be there, or is showing correctly. Any sort of inaccuracies or negative information can wreck havoc on the FICO algorithm. So if there is something wrong with it, we need to do our best to correct it. In this guide, we’ll show you how!
Looking at Your Credit Report
The first step to fixing your credit report is by checking in it the correct places. The absolute best place to really check your credit report is directly from the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. You can request a free copy from each one once a year. Additionally, you can make an online account with Experian to get their report. Finally, you can use a $1 trial of Credit Check Total ( CCT.com ), get your reports, and cancel right away.
You can also verify that the reports are looking the same on credit monitoring services like credit karma or credit sesame. While these websites aren’t good for your actual score (they use the Vantage model vs the FICO model), these services are great for seeing if there’s anything wrong on your report.
So you’ve looked on your credit report, and you’ve seen an inaccuracy such as an incorrect address, an account or debt that shouldn’t be there, or even something simple like showing up as an authorized user on a card you’ve removed yourself from. Regardless of the type of inaccurate information, you should do what you can to fix it.
There are a couple of ways you can go about fixing it. The proper way to do so is by looking up each individual credit report and disputing the incorrect information. When you click on the account or debt, you’ll be offered the opportunity to dispute the information. From there, you’ll have to enter in exactly what type of information is incorrect. If you have proof of the inaccuracy, you can attach photos.
Alternatively, for TransUnion or Equifax, you can file a dispute with a third party credit monitoring service such as Credit Karma. The process for filing the dispute is similar.
What to do After You File
Once you file the dispute, the credit agency will then have to investigate the inaccuracy. Unless they need further information, they will be able to handle it themselves from this point. Even for simple disputes, it can still take a long time to fix the information. The time it takes depends on both the credit bureau and the inaccuracy. I would allocate at least 2 months for the error to be fixed, plus another month for it to reflect on your actual credit report.
If you are not happy with the result, you can file another dispute based on the finding. Of course, it may take another few months to get another decision. For anything that cannot be fixed or should actually be on the credit report (even if you don’t like it), may take some time to fall off. But remember, time fixes everything, even a bankruptcy!
It’s absolutely crucial that your credit report is not only up to date but also correct. Because of the score dictating most of our lives, it’s important that it’s accurate. Depending on the information, it could drop a score by 100 points or more! Even if you aren’t looking for an inaccuracy, it doesn’t hurt to stay on top of your credit score and report, not matter which method you chose.
Have you been able to get any inaccuracy fixed on your report that’s boosted your score? Let us know down in the comments below!