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How to dispute an error in your credit report

Salary Finance
By Salary Finance
4 minute read

Your credit report includes information about where you live, how you manage credit, and even whether or not you have been sued or arrested. According to a study by the Federal Trade Commission, five percent of consumers had errors on one of their three major credit reports that could lead to them paying more for things such as auto loans and insurance. 

Federal law requires both the credit reporting company and the information provider (the person, company, or organization that provides information to a credit reporting company) to correct inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. 


Here’s how to dispute errors in your credit report: 


Step 1: Review your credit report

Vsit or call 1-877-322-8228 to request a free copy of your credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies. There may be small differences among your reports, because some creditors don’t report your account activity to all three bureaus. If you notice an error on one report, it may or not appear on the other two, so it’s important to review all three reports.

While you’re reviewing your reports, you will want to keep an eye out for information that could damage your scores, or suggest identify theft, such as: 

  • An incorrect account status, such as a payment being reported late
  • Negative marks that are too old to be reported - most must to be removed after seven years
  • Accounts that do not belong to you
  • Addresses or other personal information you do not recognize 
  • Incorrect credit balances or limits
  • An ex-spouse incorrectly included on a loan or credit card

If you find any suspicious information that you think could be a sign of identity theft, check with the source of the information - such as a bank or creditor - to learn more. If you've been victimized, follow the Federal Trade Commission's steps to report identity theft.


Step 2: Look for information to support your claim

If you’ve identified one or more errors, begin to gather information you could provide the credit reporting agency or information provider that disproves it. The information will depend on the error, but may include bank statements, loan documents, or a divorce certificate. The goal of this step will be to compile information that will make it quick and easy to validate your complaint. 

If you've reported identity theft, make a copy of your Federal Trade Commission complaint or police report to include. There is no cost to dispute, and you can dispute as many items as you like.


Step 3: Dispute error

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion all have the option to dispute an error online or through mail. You may also call the credit reporting agencies, however, you may not be able to finalize the dispute over the phone. Here’s the contact information for each agency: 


  • Use the Equifax online portal.
  • Write to Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374-0256.
  • Call 866-349-5191 and follow the prompts to speak to an agent.


  • Use the Experian online dispute form.
  • Write to Experian National Consumer Assistance Center, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013.
  • Call 866-200-6020 to see if your dispute can be resolved by phone.



When submitting your dispute, be prepared to include copies of the documents supporting your case, as well as proof of identity. 


Step 4: Receive and review response

Once you submit a dispute, the credit reporting agency must investigate it and then tell you the outcome in writing. Under most circumstances, they have to respond within 30 days.

If the credit reporting agency agrees that it’s an error, they will remove it and send a new copy of the credit report. You have the option to request that the credit reporting agency  communicate the correction to anyone who received it within the past six months, or two years, in the case of an employer. 

The credit reporting agency or information provider may disagree with your dispute and choose not to remove the information. If you’re sure the item on your report is incorrect, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government regulatory agency that oversees federal financial laws that protect consumers. Explain what you’re disputing and provide copies of your proof. The CFPB will investigate it, and you can follow progress with the email updates it sends or by logging in to the website.

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