Credit report errors can severely harm your credit score. Whether you're in debt or not, nobody needs misinformation on their credit report. If you're battling debt and your credit is already weak, these mistakes can be especially bad because you can end up being charged higher interest rates.
There's only one way to find if you have credit report errors and that is to check your reports on a regular basis.
- United States law mandates that Equifax, Transunion, and Experian – the three largest credit reporting companies – furnish a free credit report to you, at your request, every year.
You can also get a free copy of your report if you were unsuccessful when you applied for a loan – or if other adverse action was taken against you because of a credit report. However, you must make your request within 60 days of the occurrence.
- You can request a copy of your credit report from ftc.gov/credit.
After you receive it, read it over and search for mistakes.
If you find what you think is an error, immediately write to one, or, better yet, all three of the consumer credit agencies about the error. Make sure to keep copies of your letters.
Go into as much detail as you can. Identify the error and tell them why it is inaccurate. Document whatever you can but send them copies and keep the originals in a safe place.
Each of the agencies – Equifax, Transunion, and Experian – have to investigate the things you question within thirty days. Then they have to furnish you the results of their investigation. And, if your credit report has changed because of your dispute, they must furnish you another free copy.