Even though it seems strange in this world of autonomy, there are things that still rely heavily on us humans… including what is reported on your credit report. And we know that, as humans, we are imperfect. That’s why it is so important that you review your credit reports from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies once a year to report any inaccuracies that may impact your credit rating. We like annualcreditreport.com for free yearly credit report checking.
Be sure to look at the obvious things like your name, current address, previous address, employer, and social security number. You want everything spelled correctly and those dated items should also be in line with your life timeline.
Then go over each trade line or credit account, both those with current balances outstanding and those that you’ve paid off. They all should list the opening balance, current balance (if still open), payment amount, open date, and whether the account was paid on time or had delinquencies. The types of accounts that will be listed here are mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, personal loans, etc. Payments like your utilities, cell phone or rent, won’t appear on your credit report, unless there has been an issue and has gone into a collection status.
You’ll want to cross-reference each of the agency’s reports to make sure everything is the same, especially your personal information. If there is an error on all three that is the same, you’ll need to file a dispute with each agency.
How to Fix Errors
You can go about fixing these inaccuracies a couple of ways.
- Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax are the three (3) credit reporting agencies. You can file disputes with them online very easily. You will have credentials to create for each one, then it’s easy to just select the item that is wrong and submit it for correction. This is the best way to fix the main things, like a name misspelling, or wrong address.
- If the issue is with an account, you can also file disputes with them directly. Your banks, credit card companies, and credit unions have the ability to correct errors for the accounts you have with them. If your issue is one of identity theft however, it’s best to go through the credit reporting agencies. Plus, they can add additional security and notes to your credit bureau file.
Just a Little Waiting Now...
Regardless of which route you take, always keep an eye on your email. Typically, once you’ve registered with one of the credit bureaus and you’ve submitted a dispute, they will give you updates as to where the process is. Corrections can take at least 30 days to report. Depending on how much research needs to be done, it could be longer.
Need Help Reading Your Reports?
These crazy reports have a ton of information on them! It can be overwhelming, especially if you are a seasoned borrower with years of credit history out there. No worries, our friends at Greenpath Financial can help you read over your reports and help you make a plan to improve your score, if needed.
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