Consumers are urged to check their credit reports on a yearly basis to check them for errors. Errors on your credit report could lead to higher interest rates, or even being denied for a loan. An error could also be an indication that your identity has been stolen, which can be a costly and time consuming crime to battle.
Luckily, there are some simple fixes you can use to rectify credit report errors. Read on to discover some helpful tips that you can use in the future.
1. Get your free credit report ever year
Each of the three major credit bureaus are required to offer free credit reports on a yearly basis to their customers. Your credit report will give you your credit score and an outline of any open accounts you have floating around.
2. Check your credit report for errors
Look carefully and make sure each account was actually opened by you and that there are no errors or omissions. It’s not just credit card companies that check your credit report – often employers and landlords will also run checks before hiring or doing business with you.
3. Gather evidence if you find an error
The first thing you’ll want to do when you discover an error is go on the search for evidence. Having documentation supporting your claim of an error is vital to getting a correction made. Cancelled checks, credit card statements and other documents can all be used to prove your innocence. Common errors include reports showing open debts when in fact the amount has been paid in full. A simple copy of an invoice showing a zero balance will be enough to right this wrong.
4. Always put your requests in writing
If you do find an error, it’s important to put your correction request in writing and keep a copy for your own records. Write your request for correction in clear, easy to understand terms. Do not be hostile and do not make demands. Be sure to include any identification information they may need to verify that you are who you say you are.
5. Have patience
Your dispute probably isn’t going to be solved overnight. Sometimes, you may not hear anything for weeks, so it’s important to bide your time and wait patiently. Fortunately, laws stipulate that credit bureaus only have 30 days to resolve issues, so your wait won’t be forever.
6. Find the result of your claim
Don’t forget to follow-up to find out the results of your claim. Often, credit bureaus will not contact you following their investigation. It is up to you to contact them to find out the outcome of your inquiry.
Finding errors in your credit report and correcting them can have a huge impact on your score. Imagine seeing several old debts like same day loan debts that are being reported as delinquent. Checking your report once a year and making note of any changes and discrepancies is a good practice that everyone should get in the habit of doing.