Your credit score is linked to so many financial decisions and one error could set you back. Leslie Gaydos and Rob Michaelson explain what you need to do to correct wrong information on your credit report.
What to Do If You Spot an Error On Your Credit Report
Rob: A credit report influences so many things in our lives, so it's a good idea to make sure it's accurate. But if there is an error on your credit report, what's the next step there?
A lot of people never look at their credit reports. Are they looked at it five years ago? You have to be looking at it at least every year, really taking the time to go through all of it and see what's on there. And if you see something that isn't right. You have to take the time to correct it because it can impact you in many ways. If you identify an error on your credit report, dispute that information with the three credit reporting companies Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can email them or go to their web page and find out what that dispute process is or what you need to do. You also need to explain in writing why you feel that that information is wrong on your credit report and then support that with the documents that show that it is not correct information.
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How to Dispute Wrong Information From Another Source
Rob: What if the incorrect information is from another company?
Leslie: In that case you're going to have to file a dispute with that specific company to try to get that information removed. That could be your bank apartment landlord credit card company, and you'll have to find out the individual information about how you go through that process. It may take some time. It may be a pain, but you have to get that information corrected, so it's certainly worth your time and effort.
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How the Dispute Process Works
Rob: So once I submit this dispute to the credit reporting company or the furnisher, what comes next?
Leslie: Credit reporting companies have to investigate your dispute. They may determine that it is frivolous or without merit, in which case they need to notify you that that's what they determined.
Rob: So if I'm going to my landlord or one of these other companies, what's the process there?
Leslie: If you go to a third party and you're able to make your case and determine that there was some information that was wrong that was provided to the credit reporting companies and those entities don't make it right on their own. You can reach out to the credit reporting companies, and you can ask that they include a statement explaining the dispute is in your credit file. So anybody looking at that will see what had happened.
How Often You Need to Check Your Credit Report
Rob: So with all of this, how often should be checking my credit report? I know for this year we get to do that a weekly check. But in general, what's a good idea?
Leslie: I would say definitely yearly. You know, make it a habit in January. Maybe to get your credit report printed out or pull it up. Take a look. Go through all those lines. Make sure everything's OK. And again, if it's not, you have to take the time. I know it's a pain, but take the time to get it fixed because it will impact you down the road.