How to Effectively Make Credit Score Changes When You Notice an Error on Your Report
If you are looking for ways to make credit score changes, chances are you have found an error(s) on your credit report. Checking your credit report regularly will help clue you in on what is and isn’t normal for your personal credit history. If you haven’t been checking your credit report regularly, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with them. Federal law allows you get a free report from the three major credit bureaus at least once a year. Access one report every few months and make sure you take the time to review it carefully, since mistakes aren’t uncommon.
What types of mistakes can cause credit score changes?
When it comes to credit report errors, credit score changes are right around the corner. Since this means your credit score is going down, you want to know if you are the one causing the issues. What happens sometimes is you may apply for a credit card under different names. For example, your name is “Susan Jacobs” but you apply for a card under “Sue Jacobs”. In order to avoid an error like this, make sure you are consistent in the name you provide.
Another thing that can happen is an “insufficient credit file”. Not all creditors are required to report consumer credit information to the credit bureaus so this is a common occurrence. If you look at your credit report and notice that there are accounts missing, contact your creditors and ask that they start reporting your credit information.
Here is a list of typical errors to keep an eye out for:
- There was a clerical error made when entering your name or address information from a hand written form.
- A loan or credit card payment may have been applied to the incorrect account.
- Accounts being reported more than once. This makes it look like you have more open lines of credit than you do.
- Make sure that if you close a credit account, it says “closed by grantor”. That way it shows the creditor closed the account and not you.
- Your former spouse’s debts are on your report and you are divorced.
- Any debts that are seven years old or older should not be on your report. If there are, make sure the credit-reporting companies remove them from your report.
- You have been the victim of identity theft.
Have you noticed an error recently? Would you know what to do in this situation? In this article, we give you the steps to take to fix credit report errors in order to achieve positive credit score changes.
How to fix credit report errors
The first step to take if you find an error, is to contact the credit bureau as well as the creditor. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both parties need to take the necessary steps to fix the inaccurate information on your credit report. All three agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) allow you to file a dispute online making the process a little easier.
When you contact the credit bureau, have the details for the information you believe is inaccurate. The credit bureaus then have 30 days to look into your inquiry. Send them any copies of documents that help support your case. Don’t send in any originals. Give them your complete name and address, and be sure they have the following information:
- The exact items you are looking to dispute on your report.
- State the facts and provide an explanation as to why you believe the info to be inaccurate.
- A clear request of correction or deletion of the incorrect info.
Here is a sample letter to go off of.
If you are mailing a letter, make copies and make sure to send it by certified mail so you have proof that the credit bureau received it.
Next, do the same thing with the creditor and provide copies of supporting documents. If the provider gives the same information to the credit bureaus, they need to include your letter of dispute with it. Also, request that the bureau include you on any correspondence they send to the bureaus. This process can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
Depending on the state you live in, you may be eligible to get a free credit report so you can verify the updated information. Get in touch with the appropriate credit bureau to see this applies to you. If there is a ruling in your favor, give it some time to see credit score changes take place.
Disagree with the credit Bureau’s outcome?
When disputing an error on your credit report, you may not get the desired outcome. If this is the case, you can request that the credit bureau include your letter of dispute in your file and in future reports. Also request that they provide your letter to anyone that has received your credit report in recent times. This may cost a fee but it is worth it. You want and need to see positive credit score changes so you can continue on your path to financial wellness.
Finally, if errors are on your report and you are not getting anywhere with getting them removed, you should consider hiring a credit repair agency. The process of removing errors and negative items off your report is a tedious task and sometimes better left to the professionals. Do your research and choose a reputable credit repair agency to do the legwork for you. There are great ones to choose from. As a last resort, you may consider hiring a lawyer to help resolve your dispute. Whatever route you choose, don’t give up and you will see positive credit score changes over time.
Submit a complaint
In addition to contacting the creditor and the credit reporting agency, you can file a complaint with the CFPB. You may be surprised to learn that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has your back. The organization has received more than 1.5 million complaints related to personal financial issues since it was established in 2011. You can submit your complaint here: www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint.
The good thing is that according to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, more than 223,000 grievances have resulted in relief and resolution for consumers. This complaint will not only help you achieve positive credit score changes but will also be useful information for other consumers who are struggling with similar problems.
Credit score changes are around the corner
Empowering yourself with your personal financial information and then taking the appropriate steps to correct any mistakes or missteps is the best thing you can do for your financial future. You need to be vigilant when it comes to reviewing and correcting your credit reports and your credit score changes will follow suit. You will be well on your way to achieving personal financial goals like saving for retirement or creating a fund for your child’s education.