10/4/2011 11:28 AM ET|
Credit report error? 6 easy fixes
If you spot an error in one of your credit reports, you're entitled to dispute it with the credit reporting bureau. Here are the steps to take.
CardRatings.com recently conducted a poll asking readers whether they had ever found errors on their credit reports. Of 2,142 respondents, 1,568, or approximately three out of four, reported that yes, they have at one time or another found such an error, according to Amber Stubbs, the managing editor of CardRatings.com in Foster City, Calif.
With these findings, and the increasingly clever schemes of identity thieves, it shouldn't take much more to convince you to review your credit reports regularly and act promptly if you find errors in the reports.
Here are the steps you should take to dispute inaccuracies on your credit reports, which you are entitled to do under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
1. Get your free credit reports. All consumers are allowed one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), says Gail Cunningham, the vice president of public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in Washington, D.C. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to request the free annual reports from each bureau. You can request all three reports at once or spread them out over different times of the year. (How's your credit? Get a free estimate with MSN Money's quiz.)
2. Check for errors and omissions. Review your credit reports for errors, Cunningham says. "A poor credit report impacts your ability to obtain credit, obtain insurance, rent an apartment or get a job. So it's very important to make sure the information is corrected if it's not."
It's also important that your credit reports don't shortchange your history. Don't see that gas credit card you paid off last year? Make a note to get it added. According to Rod Griffin, the director of public education for Experian, "An accurate and complete credit report is an important financial tool, and it can be treated just like a bank statement."
3. If there's an error, gather documentation. This step is critical. Take the time to assemble all the information you'll need to prove your case, such as copies of canceled checks and creditor statements.
If, for instance, a credit report shows that you still owe money on a bill that has been paid in full, include the statement that documents the zero balance, Cunningham says. "You're just stating the facts and making sure they understand your arguments," she adds.
4. Put it in writing. Contact the bureau whose report you believe to be inaccurate, giving your name, Social Security number and date of birth, Cunningham says. If you've moved recently, verify your previous address.
Write as if you were writing to a potential employer. Explain that you are disputing certain items, and give clear, factual reasons why. Include all the details of your case, such as account numbers, invoice numbers, check numbers and payment dates. Number your attachments to make it easy for the reader to find them. Make it clear what you want changed. Don't forget to sign your letter.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Scroll back up and take a close look at the picture.
That's YOU one day if you continue to be enslaved to the system.
They are working in collusion with the big banks in order to inflate interest rates.
It's all a scam and the vast majority of Americans are naive enough to fall for it.
WAKE UP AMERICANS !!!
I have never claimed bankruptcy. I have made NO major purchases. They state that I have not established a credit rating, and they also claim "my credit is FULLY extended" (because my wallet is a card case-but most of them are business cards or discount cards, not Credit Cards. I have a few Debit cards, that I have to take cash and have it loaded onto the card.) I worked for 19 years and I raised my 2 children. Then I was unemployed for a number of years because my spouse has a good job.Now I want to support M SELF again, and it is difficult to get started when the Application REJECTS me automatically. I sent correction requests to the Reporting Agencies and they corrected the reports only Temporarily, then put the incorrect information back on it and also they still do not mention the fact that I have 19 years of employment, mostly managerial.
Remember that the Big 3's are providing a service, It is about profit. We are cash cows in their eyes and they are not going to provide the public with good service. I have a home and a car and could care less about the reporting agency's crappy idea about my circumstances. What matters is when I spend my money, all hand are stretched out. Once you establish yourself and they understand that you have the peso's, the Big 3's nonsense, is just that. Negotiate or walk away. Cash is king. Save and spend. Credit cards, interest, fee's are a waste of your money. If you can put a purchase on a credit card and pay it off later, you can pay with cash and forego the middle man. Take the power away from them. Forget the immediate gratification and work to pay for things with cash. It will be more satisfying. The same companies that we looked to as the leaders of our country have shown; that greed was the focus all along and now the economy is in the state that it is.
when thy say no credit is the same as bad credit ,if you buy tht u deserver everything tht happens to you,if you have bad post on your credit it take a act of congress to remove it, and thy can lev it thr for six months after you show thm a court ordder to remove it,, if you are trying to abtain credit in this day and age you are dummer thn a post and plezzzz step to the crub here come the short bus.
my addvise to u peps trying to gt credit is DONT when no ONE WNT WHAT thy have thy end just giving it a way just like the 70s when fanny may and the other mizzzzzzers couldnt gt pepole to buy house thy just gave them a way for alomost nothing,,,
It does not have to be a significant amount to affect your credit negatively. I had a $300 credit limit at a popular women's store. I paid the bill in full prior to going overseas. I was on deployment when I received notification that I still "owed" $93 to this store. Because I was unable to prove that I had paid my bill in full (who takes receipts on deployment?), I opted to pay the $93 rather than have a negative report on my credit and then thought I would rectify the matter when I returned to the States. Big mistake! Not only was I out and additional $93 but there was a negative report filed with one of the credit reporting agencies. The more I protested, the worse it got!
PS: beware of ZOMBIE debts!!!!
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.