Credit 101 – How To Dispute An Item On Your Credit Report

Credit Education

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If you’re interested in buying a used car, you may be in the process of checking your credit score, in order to see what kind of rates you can expect to get on a car loan. So, you order your annual credit report, which is available for free, and you see that there is an incorrect item listed on your report.

Maybe it’s an account that has been “charged-off”, even though it’s been paid in full, or perhaps a creditor reported you late on payments, despite the fact that you’ve never missed a single monthly payment.

Regardless of the specifics, an incorrect item on your credit report can harm your credit quite a bit – and if you can get it removed, chances are your score will go up. But how do you actually dispute items on your credit report, and get them removed? In this guide, we’ll give you the basics.

1. Write A Letter Describing The Information You Think Is Inaccurate

To start an official dispute, you must write a letter to the credit bureau, alerting them to the fact that there is an inaccurate item on your credit report.

First, you’ll want to print a copy of your credit report, and circle the items that are inaccurate. This will ensure that the credit bureau has an easy time figuring out which items are in dispute, and can take immediate action.

In the letter, describe the items that are inaccurate, and include evidence that they are inaccurate. For example, if a late payment is listed on your credit report, include a statement from that billing period that indicates you have paid in full.

If you’re not sure where to begin, this template is a great place to start. By following this template, you can make sure that you include all of the personal information and other information that may be required to remove an item from your credit report.

2. Contact The Furnisher Of The Debt

You may also want to contact the “furnisher” of the debt – meaning the bank or credit card company that initially reported the incorrect item on the report.

The letter will be quite similar to the one you sent to the credit bureaus. Simply outline the item that is incorrect, explain why it’s incorrect, and include proof that the item should be removed from your credit report. This template can help you write a letter to your furnisher.

3. Wait For A Response From The Credit Bureau And Furnisher

Credit bureaus typically have around 45 days to respond to a dispute request. During this time, they will conduct an internal investigation to determine whether or not the item should be removed from your credit report. Debt furnishers usually have around 30 days to respond to a request for dispute.

If they find that you are correct, the item will be removed from your credit report. However, if you make multiple requests for dispute and they are unfounded, they may find that your requests are frivolous. They will reject your dispute, and are required to notify you of why they did so within 5 days of the rejection. If your dispute was labeled frivolous, you can attempt to re-submit a dispute with updated materials.

4. Review Your Credit Report And Wait For An Update To Your Credit Score

The credit bureau to which you’ve submitted a dispute must provide you with the results of their investigation and writing, as well as an updated copy of your credit report. If your dispute was found to be correct by the furnisher and the credit bureau, the offending item will be removed.

It may take some time for your credit score to be updated, to take your new credit report into account, so be patient!

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