Aside from keeping you on top of your credit score, one of the main reasons to check your credit report on an annual basis is to ensure its accuracy – but what do you do when there’s a mistake? An error on your credit report can be as damaging as larger amounts of credit debt, making your financial life much harder than it needs to be. Inaccuracies on your credit report can affect everything from your mortgage interest rate to your ability to get new credit. So how do you go about fixing errors on your credit report?
Protecting Your Credit Report from Error
By checking your credit report on an annual basis, you can ensure that everything concerning your financial profile is accurate and up to date. Whenever you obtain your credit report from a credit bureau, be sure to check for basic information, such as your name, address, phone number, employment information, and other sensitive personal information.
Furthermore, if you have filed for bankruptcy, check to ensure that the bankruptcy chapter is listed in the credit report. Also, check for inaccuracies, such as any claims that you were late on a payment when you paid on time. Inconsistencies or actions that simply aren’t true should raise a red flag. These include, but aren’t limited to, accounts that don’t belong to you, lawsuits that didn’t involve you, an account that you closed that is still recorded as open, inaccurate account histories, and much more.
If any error appears on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided it directly. Be specific and explain what is wrong, providing the necessary proof when possible. For instance, if your credit report states that you missed late payments, send a copy of payment receipts to prove that everything was paid on time. Be sure to always make a copy of important documents, keeping the originals for yourself.
Once you submit a discrepancy to the credit bureau, it is legally required to investigate and follow-up within 30 days. Proactively checking your credit report will ensure that it is accurate and correctly reflects your money management.