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How to Correct Your Credit Report

By Janet Lacey
Published: Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Negative items showing up regularly on your credit report can pull down your credit score drastically. Even a single negative entry can get your score down by more than 50 points at times. And the problem with credit reports is that in many cases, a number of negative items that pop up on your report do not actually exist. Even with your actual credit history, maintaining a good credit score is tough. So the moment you see an error on your credit report, you should go about getting it corrected for the sake of your credit score and in order to make your report cleaner and more accurate.

There are two ways by which you can approach a credit bureau to get your credit report corrected. However, before you resort to any of these methods, it is a good idea to double check that what you think of is an error is in actuality an error and not a real part of your credit history.

Method 1: Writing A Letter To The Credit Bureau

Till a long time, writing a dispute letter to a credit bureau was the only way of getting a credit report error corrected. Write to the credit bureau that has reported your error providing the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Employment details as listed in the report (for ease of verification)
  • Description of the error
  • Reason for disputing the error in detail
  • Copy of your credit report with the mistake highlighted
  • Any documentation that you have which supports your disputing the error

You can send your letter by certified mail to the credit bureau reporting the mistake. Make sure that you ask for a ‘return receipt requested’, since this will be your proof of the credit bureau receiving your letter on a certain date.

The credit bureau is then supposed to investigate the error reported and make the required changes in your credit report within 30 days. Once the credit bureau has finished its investigation, it will get back to you with the result of the dispute. The bureau is also supposed to send you a free copy of your corrected credit report.

Method 2: Reporting The Error Online

All three credit bureaus now provide the option of disputing credit report items online through their website. Request a free credit report online and you will find that all entries now come with a “dispute this item” button alongside. In case you feel that some information is being erroneously reported in your report, you can click on the ‘dispute this item’ button and follow the steps provided to report your dispute. This option is quick, efficient and time saving when compared to the traditional method of mailing the credit bureaus.

The websites of the three credit bureaus where you can request your free online credit report as well as their mailing and contact details are listed below:

Equifax
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
(800) 797-7033
www.equifax.com

Experian
NCAC
P.O. Box 9595
Allen, TX 75013
(800) 583-4080
www.experian.com

Trans Union
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
(800) 916-8800
www.transunion.com

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