How do I dispute
my credit report?
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Often, errors are found on credit reports.
Our first bit of advice is to get a copy of your credit report
(which you are allowed to get for free from each of the three
major credit bureaus once a year), and review it very carefully.
Look for any damaging details to your credit.
One damaging detail that you might find is too many inquiries
on your report by potential creditors, which can be interpreted
by other creditors as a red flag that you're having financial
problems, and are therefore applying for credit at several places
to offset the situation. If you see a number of inquiries, be
prepared to write a short positive statement that explains the
high number of inquiries. We'll get into that statement a little
Your credit report should include an account summary with all
of your creditors, rated either positive, negative, or non-rated.
An example of a positive rating is making timely payments on your
auto loan. A negative rating results from defaulting on a major
debt. Non-rated entries could be a few late payments. If you find
any negative or non-rated remarks on your report that are erroneous,
you can challenge them.
To challenge any erroneous credit report entries, write a letter
to the credit bureau in question (the one who sent you the report
specifically) and point out the errors. The credit bureau then
needs to verify the validity of the entries with the debt's creditor.
If the creditor isn't able to prove the validity of their entry,
then the credit bureau is obliged to modify the entry on your
Keep in mind that your dispute letter to the credit bureau should
be concise, brief and to the point, taking care to note any and
all errors found.
Here's a helpful hint: as mentioned, you can get a free credit
report from each of the major three credit bureaus once a year.
Just because one credit bureau has reported a negative item doesn't
mean that another credit bureau has done the same for that same
item. Therefore, it would behoove you to get a credit report from
each of the three major credit bureaus and review each one carefully.
If you find erroneous items, know that you would need to dispute
them to each of the credit bureaus on whose reports those items
appear in order to have a true impact on your credit score.
Yes, writing to all three of the major credit bureaus if necessary
can be a pain but it's well worth the trouble. Having negative
items wiped off of all three reports can have a dramatic impact
on your credit rating and credit score - and that improved rating
and score can pay you back in spades in terms of getting approved
for that car loan, or that house, or that American Express card.
Follow the steps outlined above to get your credit in good standing
and to start enjoying the benefits of a stronger credit score
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