Behind the scenes, the people that compile your personal credit reports are human; they can (and do) make mistakes while compiling your credit report from all the sources that report information to them. This is why requesting a copy of your credit report every year is important for your financial health. Monitoring your credit report will allow you to see what information is being compiled about you. You will then discover any inaccurate information and be able to request a correction fairly quickly.
Once you get a copy of your credit report, many people are shocked that the credit score is not included. That's ok. Take the time to study all the information in it thoroughly and highlight all the inaccurate information on your report. All of your credit history may not be contained in just one file from a specific agency. If possible, check your report from all the other credit companies as well. Some information will be duplicated, or it may not even be included in a different file.
You need to make a note of your full name, social security number, current and previous addresses, your spouse’s name, and your date of birth. Make sure that they are all correct because they are the critical pieces on information used in identifying you. Also make sure that the bank names, account numbers, date opened, date closed, highest credit limit, highest amount of credit used, and your repayment history are correct for each account.
After studying your credit report carefully, highlight any errors and the way you believe it should be listed. You may have to attach photocopies of proof along with the information you are submitting in order to prove your claim. Sometimes, you will have to send a package to the appropriate credit bureau by mail. Most credit bureaus allow for online corrections, but it may be different in each individual circumstance. Once the credit bureau gets your information or correction, they will investigate your complaint and send you the results of the investigation. You will have to exercise some patience during this period because it often takes a bureau 20-30 days in order to announce their findings. You must repeat this process for every credit bureau that makes a mistake on your credit report.
The fact that several agencies can compile information about you means that you will almost certainly encounter a problem at some point in your lifetime. When you apply for credit in a bank, store, or any other lending company, you may be denied credit based on inaccurate information. This does not mean the company you filed errors on your reports with didn't make the changes, it’s more likely that the bank or store you are trying to deal with use another company's credit report. This is why it is imperative to correct all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
Here is some positive news, anytime that you are denied credit, you have the right to know why you were turned down. If the bank or store used a credit reporting agency to make their decision, they must provide you with the name and address of the agency that supplied them with the credit report.
Once you have the contact information of the agency involved, you should make it a priority to fix any inaccurate information on that report.
Don’t be afraid to demand an explanation where you feel the agency is wrong. If there is any information in the report that is not true, point it out politely via phone, and have it investigated by the agency. Once the agency corrects any errors, you then have the right to demand corrected copies of your credit report.