It is impossible to start down the road to correcting your credit without knowing what is on your credit. Everyone has three credit reports — one from each of the 3 major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. In reviewing your credit report you may find that there are errors.
A 2012 study from the Federal Trade Commission found that 1 in 5 consumers had an error on at least one of their credit reports, and a follow-up study in 2015 found that those who reported an unresolved error on one of their reports believe that at least one piece of disputed information is still inaccurate. (Credit.com)
Credit scores are based on data in your credit report, so it is critical that you make sure all the information that is included on your report is accurate. It there are inaccuracies on your credit report, those mistakes or discrepancies will have an impact on your score.
With the understanding that credit can have such a huge impact on our overall ability to participate in life’s activities, obtaining a copy of your credit report and score is much easier today. You’re entitled to a free copy, once a year, of all three of your credit reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These free credit reports can be accessed via AnnualCreditReport.com, the government-mandated site run by the major bureaus.
CREDIT SCORE TIERS
Most credit scores – including the FICO score – operate within the range of 300 to 850. The credit tiers generally look like this:
Excellent Credit: 750+
Good Credit: 700-749
Fair Credit: 650-699
Poor Credit: 600-649
Bad Credit: below 600
CHECKING FOR ERRORS
Once you have a copy of your three credit reports, ask yourself these questions as a guide to identify errors:
- Is all of your personal information accurate? (That can include your Social Security number, birth date, full name and address.)
- Are all of your credit accounts being reported?
- Are there any late or missed payments listed that you remember making on time?
- Are there any accounts or applications for credit you don’t recognize?
- Are there any items from decades ago still appearing on your report?
FIND THE ERRORS
To get started, grab a highlighter and pick out any and all inconsistencies. it is possible that you will find an error on one report and not the other(s). That’s why it’s so important to check all three of your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies for inaccuracies on each. You may find none, a few, or perhaps many errors on your reports.
THE DISPUTE PROCESS
The process of disputing the errors will have to be completed separately with each credit bureau, as they’re run separately from one another. You’ll also have to file a separate dispute for each error you find. All three agencies provide an online dispute form which makes the dispute process less time consuming.
You can dispute these errors on your own for free, or you could consider hiring a reputable credit repair company or credit counselor like Del Sol Credit Restoration to help.
However you approach correcting your credit, the important thing is that you take steps to make sure the information that is being reported for you is accurate.