How to Fix Credit Report Errors in 3 Steps

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  • You have a separate credit report from all three credit bureaus, so you'll need to check all three for errors.
  • You can file disputes with the credit bureaus online.
  • The credit bureau will investigate and, if it agrees with your dispute, it will remove the item from your credit report.

It doesn't take long, and it could make a big difference for your credit score.

Mistakes on credit reports are a more common issue than many people realize. In a 2021 investigation, 34% of Americans found a credit report error. Some errors can have a significant impact on your credit score, so if you don't get them fixed, they could cause financial issues for you.

If you found something on your credit report that you don't recognize or that should have fallen off by now, there's a dispute process you can follow. Here's a step-by-step guide for how to fix credit report errors.

1. Review all three of your credit reports

There are three credit bureaus that handle consumer credit scores: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You have a separate credit report with each bureau. If you've found an error on one credit report, start by checking to see if it's also on either of the others. If so, it's best to file separate disputes with each bureau.

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Technically, if your dispute is successful with one bureau, that should be enough. The company providing the inaccurate information is supposed to stop reporting it at that point. But it's still wise to dispute it with each bureau to cover your bases.

To pull your credit reports, go to You can get weekly credit reports from all three bureaus, free of charge, through the end of 2023. Once you have reports from all three bureaus, you can compare the information on each of them.

2. File a dispute

You can dispute items on your credit report with the credit bureau that issued it online, by mail, and in some cases, over the phone. The fastest method is an online dispute. Here are links to start a dispute with each credit bureau:

Each credit bureau has its own dispute process, but there's not much difference between them. You'll need to create an account with the bureau first. Next, select the item you're disputing and the reason.

Depending on why you're filing the dispute, you may need to provide supporting documentation. For example, if you're disputing a late payment with one of your credit cards because you actually paid on time, then you should include a payment confirmation to demonstrate that.

Filing a dispute with the creditor

In addition to filing a dispute with the credit bureau, you can also do so with the creditor that reported the incorrect information, known as the data furnisher. Check if there's an address for the creditor on your credit report. If not, contact the creditor and ask for an address to mail a dispute letter.

The dispute letter should include the following:

  • Your name
  • Your mailing address
  • The item you're disputing
  • The reason for the dispute
  • Supporting evidence

3. Wait for a response

When you file a dispute, the credit bureau has 30 days to investigate it. If you provide more information after filing the dispute, then the bureau gets a 15-day extension, giving it up to 45 days total.

Based on its investigation, the credit bureau will either:

  • Agree that it's an error and remove it from your credit report: It will then send you a copy of your new, corrected credit report. You can also request that the credit bureau send out a notification of the correction to anyone who pulled your credit in the last six months, as well as anyone who pulled your credit for employment purposes in the last two years.
  • Disagree that it's an error and keep it on your credit report: In this case, you could dispute the issue with the data furnisher, if you haven't already. You could also redispute it with the credit bureau with new supporting documentation, or file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

To sum it up, you can fix a credit report error by disputing it with each credit bureau listing the inaccurate information. You should get a response within 30 days, or within 45 days if you provide more information about your dispute after filing. If your dispute is successful, the item will be removed from your credit report, which could help increase your credit score.

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