Fixing Credit Report Errors
6.10.2022 | Category: Homebuying
How to check your credit report for inaccuracies
When applying for a home loan, lenders will check your credit to ensure you’re a good candidate for a mortgage. For this reason, you will want your credit history to be as accurate as possible and not include any inadvertent errors.
It’s not just about your credit score, but if there are inaccuracies on your credit report you may find it bringing your credit score down. Many people are unaware that they have errors on their credit report, or don’t know what to look for. Luckily, it’s easy to check your credit report for errors and not impossible to have them removed.
First, request a free credit report from one of the three credit bureaus
Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report once a year. And until December 2022, consumers can request their credit report for free weekly. You can request this from any of the three credit bureaus or go to www.annualcreditreport.com.
If you do find errors on your credit report, you can dispute them. You can either dispute them with the credit bureaus or go directly to the agency or institution that reported the incorrect information.
Next, review your personally-identifying information thoroughly
When reviewing your credit report, carefully review every instance your name or known alias is used. One of the most common mistakes found on a credit report is a name similar to yours, but not yours. This is especially true if you’re a junior or you have a slightly different name than someone else in your immediate family.
These credit reporting errors are usually easy to fix. You just need to contact the credit bureau reporting the inaccurate information and request an update. You can usually request the update online, by phone or by mail. You will likely need some documentation supporting your claim such as a copy of your state issued ID or passport to confirm the accurate information.
Then, carefully look at your credit accounts
Review for accounts that are not yours. Look for accounts that are providing an incorrect creditor or unfamiliar account. They could be reporting accounts that belong to someone with a similar name as you or someone in your family.
Incorrect accounts might be the result of identity theft. If you see an account that is unfamiliar and the name is correct, but the address is different, this is a good indicator that someone is applying or using credit under your name.
Check the statuses on all reported accounts
Check to see if there are accounts that are yours but are being reported as open, when they should be closed, or vice versa. This is usually an error made by the credit agency or reporting lender, so you will want to call the lender to let them know that they are reporting a closed account as open or a seemingly open account as closed.
You will also want to check to see if there are errors showing that an account is being paid late or being reported as delinquent. If it is reporting incorrect dates of last payment or delinquency, check these dates and make sure that you can show that payments were paid on time.
Also, check the balances and limits being reported
Make sure you are checking for correct balances, and credit limits. If this is being reported incorrectly, it could bring down your credit score depending on what’s being reported. However, keep in mind that lenders usually deliver information to the three credit bureaus in 30, 60 and 90 day cycles so if you only recently paid down a large balance or closed an account, it may take some time to show up on your credit report.
If you find errors, you can have them fixed
Once you’ve reviewed your credit history comprehensively, if you found errors, you can dispute with both the creditor and the credit bureau. For example, if you have a credit card, and it's reporting as closed and it's open on your Experian credit report, you can report the error with the credit card company and Experian.
You will likely need supporting documentation before contacting the credit bureaus. For example, if you’re requesting an address be fixed, you will need to create a supporting document or letter explaining your claim and address it to either of the three companies.
Then, you will need to document your dispute. This should include the source or name of the credit reporting agency, your account number to help them identify your account, the type of disputes and the dates that are associated with it, and an explanation as to what is being disputed.
When applying for a home loan, review your reports thoroughly and dispute any inaccuracies that might be hurting your credit. If you need more information, you can find credit report checklists with just a simple search of images online. Making sure that your credit reports are reporting correctly will help you to make sure that no one has stolen your identity and may even give your credit score the boost it needs.
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