by Christy Bieber | Updated Sept. 15, 2021 - First published on Dec. 17, 2018
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If your Experian credit report has any errors, this step-by-step guide will help you through the process of disputing the inaccurate info.Image source: Getty Images
Mistakes on your credit report are far more common than many people are aware of. Unfortunately, errors on your credit report can drag down your credit score. This can be a major problem, since your credit score is used in all sorts of ways.
Lenders use your credit score to determine if you can borrow, and what interest you'll have to pay to do so, whether you’re applying for a personal loan or a credit card. Utility companies use your score to assess how big of a deposit you'll have to make to connect to service, and cell phone companies use it to decide whether to give you a phone on a contract. Car insurers also use it to determine your rates, and employers sometimes check your credit as part of a background check.
Since your credit score is so important, you should be checking your credit reports regularly so you can take action if there's any inaccurate information on your reports. If you do find an error on your Experian credit report, take the following steps to make sure it gets corrected.
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The first thing to do to make sure there aren't any inaccuracies on your Experian credit report is to obtain a copy of the report and review it carefully.
You can get a copy at no cost to you from AnnualCreditReport.com. You're entitled to a free copy of your report from each of the major credit reporting agencies once per year, which can be obtained online by visiting that site.
Pulling your report is easy: you just need to provide some basic identifying information and verify your identity. Once you've obtained a copy, look at it carefully to see if there is any information that is not correct.
You should review everything on your report, including the names and aliases listed; current and former addresses; and all of the details about each of your accounts. Look for accounts you didn't open, inaccurate payment history information, court records that don't belong to you, and anything else that seems incorrect based on your knowledge of how you've used credit in the past.
When you've found inaccurate information, you need to let Experian know you're disputing it. The fastest and easiest way to submit a dispute is online, according to Experian. You can visit Experian's disputes page to start a new dispute or to sign in to check an existing dispute.
You can also obtain instructions to submit a dispute via phone or mail. To initiate a dispute by phone, you'll need to call the number listed on your credit report. If you need to request a paper copy of your report, you can do so by calling 866-200-6020
If you wish to submit the dispute by mail, you'll send the information to:
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
When you submit the dispute, provide your personal information, including your full name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. Also, provide details on the specific inaccurate information that you are disputing. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for Experian to act.
To maximize the chances of a successful dispute, it's helpful to include supporting documentation. These documents can be submitted via mail to Experian's National Consumer Assistance Center at P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013, or you can upload your documentation online.
There are many different kinds of documents you could provide to Experian to help convince the credit reporting agency that you have inaccurate information on your report that needs to be changed or removed.
For example, you could send proof of payment by submitting cancelled checks. If there are accounts on your credit report that do not belong to you, you could submit a police report showing you were the victim of identity theft.
Bank statements, a letter from a lender, a copy of your photo ID, or court records of a bankruptcy are all possible examples of the kinds of documents you may need to submit to Experian, depending upon the nature of your dispute. Just think about what kinds of information the credit reporting agency would need when determining if what's being shown on your report is correct or not.
Equifax will review all the information you provide and, depending on the situation, may reach out to the business who you're claiming is reporting the inaccurate information.
Equifax provides the company reporting the info with your documentation and asks them to take action to update their records if appropriate. The company will also be asked to submit a reply that may include their own documentation or may include notification of a change to what's being reported.
Equifax will get back to you within 30 days of the time you submitted your dispute, or within 21 days if you live in Maine. You'll be notified of the decision made in the investigation and, if appropriate, your credit report information will be modified to remove or correct inaccurate information that was on your report.
You may have had adverse action taken against you on the basis of inaccurate credit report information, especially if the incorrect info lowered your credit score or made you appear to be an irresponsible borrower.
You'll want to let lenders or companies you've tried to do business with know that your credit report was previously inaccurate and that an update to your report has been made.
This could help you to get approved for a loan you were denied for, or could otherwise make your transactions with financial service companies easier if you now appear less risky to do business with thanks to your newly improved credit score and report.
Fixing mistakes on an Experian report may not be the end of your problems caused by inaccurate information, as there are two other major credit reporting agencies: Equifax and TransUnion.
You should pull your credit reports from these other two agencies using AnnualCreditReport.com. If you spot mistakes there, you'll need to follow the Equifax and TransUnion dispute processes.
Since the process of having inaccurate information corrected or removed can take about a month, or more in some cases, you shouldn't wait until you have an adverse credit event such as being denied a loan to discover a mistake and take action.
Check your credit report regularly. If there is an error, you can take action right away to get it fixed before it causes you problems. By keeping your report free of mistakes, you can have the highest credit score possible, which will help you in many of the important financial transactions you enter into during the course of your life.
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