A credit report is important, because contains your financial history. It can also contain mistakes. The good news is that you don't have to tolerate an error in a credit report. If the balance on your credit card needs updating, there are steps you can take to have the credit bureau correct it on your credit report.
You have certain rights when it comes to your credit report. One of those rights is the right to dispute credit report errors found in your credit report. A dispute means you believe the information is false or inaccurate. Once a bureau receives your dispute, it has up to 30 days to investigate and correct the mistake. The bureau will then send you an updated copy of your credit report. This copy will show any changes that were made.
When it comes to disputes, you have options. You can file a dispute by mail or online at the bureau's website. You can also do so by calling the bureau. If you call the bureau, a customer service representative will take your dispute over the phone. If the balance on a credit card is incorrect, you can tell the customer service representative what the correct balance should be. The bureau won't change it automatically, however. It will contact the creditor and verify the balance amount. Once this is done, the bureau will update your report with the correct balance.
If the balance on your credit report is wrong, you can also contact the creditor directly. The reason for this is twofold. The creditor can correct the balance on its end and update that information with the credit bureaus. This will correct the problem. Secondly, credit bureaus can only verify data. If the bureau contacts the creditor to verify information but the data within the creditor's database is incorrect, your report will reflect that data since it was verified with the creditor. Correcting the information with the creditor ensures that the most accurate data appears on your report.
Of course, having the correct balance on your credit report is important. Credit report data determines your credit score, and errors in the report may damage it. When calculating your score, the Fair Isaac Corp, commonly called FICO, looks at your credit utilization rate, which measures how much available credit you have on a credit card versus how much debt you have on it. More available credit means a higher credit score. If your balance is reported higher than it should be, this may have a negative impact on your score.
Mack Mitzsheva is a tax lawyer, personal finance expert and the author of the forthcoming ebook, "10 Best Places to Work Online." Mitzsheva is also a social media entrepreneur with five successful sites under her belt. Always innovative, Mitzsheva is currently developing a cutting-edge budgeting app for newlyweds.