Friday, November 5, 2010

How to Fix Credit Report Mistakes

8:26 AM |

Credit report inaccuracies can kill your credit score. Worse yet you might not even know there are mistakes on your credit report.
Your credit scores impact all facets of your life. Credit determines whether you qualify and how much you pay for mortgages, auto loans, and other bank lending. Your credit report also influence whether you can get a cell phone or rent an apartment. In some States, it even effects how much you pay for auto and life insurance.
Understanding how instrumental credit is to your life and financial situation, it’s obvious that you need to manage it and maintain a good credit score. However, what you may not know is that credit bureaus make mistakes on your credit reports–all the time.
Fortunately, this simple 5 step checklist to fixing credit mistakes can return your fouled credit to good standing.

1. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report - The first step in fixing mistakes on your credit report is to get a copy. You need to make sure you get copies of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion). Each may receive different reporting data from your various creditors and typically there are variances.

2. Identify Which Credit Bureau Has Inaccurate Information – Once you have a copy of each credit report very carefully review all of the data in each report. Make sure that all of the personal identification information is accurate as well as each credit line. It is very common for family members’ credit information to be intermingled.
Carefully itemize any know errors or items that are unfamiliar.

3. Contact the Creditor Reporting the Inaccuracy - Having itemized any errors or unfamiliar credit lines, call the creditor directly with your discrepancy or question. Very often this single call will resolve the issue.
If it is (any it often is) a mistake in reporting then the creditor can immediately issue a correction directly to the credit bureau.
If the mistake is still in dispute between you an the creditor then you will need to take a few additional steps.

4. Collect Documentation to Prove Inaccuracy - Very likely there will be reporting items that you would like to contest for accuracy or simply think are improperly represented. To contest and correct these items you should carefully collect and annotate documentation supporting your case.
In some circumstances it may be worth your time and expense to seek the assistance of an attorney to contest negative items on your credit report. If there are unsettled collections or inaccurate reporting of your payment history on one or more credit line the money you invest in attorney fees are quickly returned in savings in interest rates you receive for lending.

5. Contact the Credit Bureau By Phone and Mail - Once you have your case carefully documented and represented to contest inaccuracies recontact the credit bureaus and creditors. These contacts should be documented and any responses recorded.
As with any contest your patience and persistence is often rewarded. Often the creditors will fail to follow through in fighting your protest and disputes will eventually be removed from your credit record.

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