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How to dispute inaccuracies on your credit report

Credit reports contain detailed information about your loan and credit history, including how much you borrowed and whether you missed any payments. The major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) are given this information by creditors and compile it to create your credit reports. These reports are used by lenders to determine whether you meet their qualifications for loans and may even be used to decide whether you qualify for insurance or if you can rent a house or apartment.

Considering how many financial situations depend on credit reports, it’s important that the information contained on them is completely accurate. If you spot any inaccuracies on your credit report, you can submit a dispute to the credit bureau.

Here’s how to write a dispute letter:

  1. Provide your complete name and address.

  2. Identify each item you are disputing, state why it is incorrect and request it be removed or corrected.

  3. Include a copy of the credit report with the information you are disputing and circle it.

  4. Keep a copy of the letter at home for reference.

  5. Send the letter with a return receipt requested so you can track when the credit bureau received your letter.

The credit bureau is required to investigate any disputed items, typically within 30 days (unless the disputed items are considered frivolous). Once the investigation is complete, you must be given the results in writing and a free copy of your report if any changes are made. You may also request that the credit bureau sends notices of corrections to anyone who received your report in the last six months.

If you spot any inaccuracies on your credit report, you can submit a dispute to the credit bureau.

How credit freezes work

After the September 2017 revelation of a data breach at Equifax, you may be worried about the security of your personal information and the impact this could have on your credit report. One action you can take is placing a credit freeze on your files. Also known as a security freeze, this can make it difficult for someone to open a new account in your name.

How do I place a credit freeze?

You can contact each of the credit bureaus at these numbers:

  • Equifax: 1-800-349-9960

  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742

  • TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872

You will need to provide your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.

Does a credit freeze cost any money?

Yes, you will typically have to pay a fee to place and lift a credit freeze. The fee varies by credit bureau and where you live, but is generally between $5 and $10.

How do I lift a credit freeze?

You will need to contact the credit bureau and request your credit freeze be lifted using the PIN you created when the freeze was placed. The credit bureau must lift the freeze no later than three business days after your request is received.

Protect yourself

We offer a suite of identity theft and fraud protection services. You get to choose what service you want, and only pay for what you chose. learn more about our fraud protection services by clicking the button below.

ID Theft and Fraud Protection services

* Source: National Association of Realtors®, Oct. 3, 2017.

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