GREENSBORO, N.C. - Your credit is everything. A good score means lower payments, more access to loans and even lower car insurance rates. So if there's an error, you want it fixed. But there are some common mistakes people make with trying to challenge mistakes on their credit report.
First you need to get reports from all three of the main credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The information isn't always the same across the board.
If you see a mistake, write them a letter. Be very very clear what the mistake is. Tell them why it is a mistake. Don't be vague. The bureaus can't read your mind. Make it easy on them to say you're right.
Request a verification before disputing. that requires a creditor make sure the information is accurate first. Sometimes they won't follow up and the mistake is removed.
Finally Credit.com says you need to know the right reason to dispute:
"There are so many reasons you can give for a credit dispute, but some require specific clarification. A couple examples of dispute reasons that are often too vague or phrased incorrectly are: The debt is paid so it should be off my credit report. Paying off a debt does not remove it from your credit report right away. Without an intervention, negative information can stay on your reports for seven years. Closed accounts in good standing typically stay on your reports for 10 years. The debt is not mine because my ex-spouse is responsible for it per the divorce. Banks and other financial institutions will not automatically remove joint accounts which have been determined to be the responsibility of an ex-spouse via a divorce decree. However, sending in a copy of the decree and requesting that the account be eliminated from a credit report can result in the removal. Times when a dispute is likely the right way to go include:
The account is not yours (whether it’s appearing because of a clerical error, identity theft or something else).
The account was not late.
The balance is incorrect.
The account should be listed as closed or open, but isn’t.
The account should have “aged off.”
The date of a delinquency is wrong."
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