Your credit report and your credit score are incredibly important to many aspects of your life. They determine whether, and at what interest rate, you can get a mortgage, a car loan and a credit card. Your score may also help — or prevent you — from renting an apartment or getting a new job. So it is important to keep an eye on your credit report to ensure all of the information it contains is accurate. Errors can creep in from time to time, but correcting them is a straightforward process.
Order a free copy of your three credit reports. Do this only at annualcreditreport.com, which is the only official source where you can be assured you will not be charged. You may order one copy of each report free each year.
Note which report or reports contain an error. Write to the credit reporting company explaining the inaccuracy, and including copies of any supporting documentation you have to show that the information is wrong. Also enclose a copy of the report with the disputed items circled. If you would rather deal with the matter online, all three credit bureaus allow for an online dispute process free of charge (see Resources). Access this process through their websites and follow the online prompts.
Write to the creditor connected to the disputed information. For instance, if it is a problem with a credit card balance, get in touch with the card issuer. Write a similar letter to the one you sent to the credit bureau, and again enclose copies of supporting documents.
Receive and review a report from the credit bureau about the results of their investigation into your dispute. The investigation must usually be completed within 30 days of the receipt of your letter.
Ask for a corrected copy of your report to be sent to anyone who inquired about your credit in the last six months. This is required by law if items on your report have been changed.
Ask for a statement of the dispute to be recorded in your file, if the case is not decided in your favor. This can show agencies that inquire about your credit report in the future that you do not agree with the information it contains.