What To Do When You Discover Errors On Your Credit Report

There are few steps that you need to follow in order to fix an error on your credit report. The simplest way to collect a mistake on your credit report is to file a dispute online through the Web sites of the National credit bureaus. In order to dispute an item you are required to have a copy of your credit report that is not more than 90 days old. So if you have spotted an error on your free copy of credit report it is a good idea to dispute the item as quickly as possible. When you access your free copy from www.annualcreditreport.com you will also gain access to a certain section that allows you to disputes wrong accounts and entries on your credit file. Otherwise also it is simple to locate the link for filing disputes once you’re on the website.

Top the online dispute form is very simple and usually requires you to choose from a multiple-choice interface such as, “account is not mine” or “account was never late”

The other option for disputing mistakes on your credit file is to send a dispute letter by post.When you order your credit report by post,  it will come with a form that can be used to send the dispute back to the credit bureau. This form is simple and designed in a way to make this process streamlined. You usually need to provide quick and simple details such as account number and the reason for dispute in just a couple of words such as “account is not mine” or “account was never late”. There is also space to provide extra explanation or information if required.

You are of course free to write your own dispute letter if you feel that the scope of this predesigned dispute form sent by the credit reporting agency is not sufficient. When you send the dispute by post, you can also attach any documents as proof which validates the dispute. However, you should also know that it is the responsibility of the credit reporting agencies by law. To report accurate information if you simply dispute an item on your credit report, it is their duty to investigate it within 30 days and get back to you with the result.

Even if you are writing your own dispute letter, be precise and avoid eating into lengthy details. At all cost, avoid getting personal, listing personal problems or giving and unnecessary account of your dealings with the creditor.

You can follow the example of the online dispute form that does not require you to fill in information in detail and just tell the credit bureau the very basic summary of why you are disputing a particular account or information in your credit report.

It is also a good idea to call up the credit bureau a few days to check the status of the credit report dispute. It is also advised to send your dispute by registered post with a return receipt accepted. However this is not strictly required as it is very uncommon for a credit bureau to simply deny that it did not receive the dispute sent by the consumer.


Why Are Spouse Accounts Not Included In the Credit Report?

The basic idea of the national credit system is for every individual to have their independent credit report and credit score. This is done in order to avoid undue favorable or negative entries on an individual’s credit report impacting the credit score of the spouse. Many people who do not have an individual means of income would like their spouse’s accounts to be included in their credit report in order to have a more favorable score.

However spouse’s accounts are only included in a credit report for accounts that are jointly held. Single accounts can be included if the spouse makes payment of those accounts.

If you are one of those people who do not have adequate credit history you can open joint accounts with your spouse and even undertake loans jointly.

However, you need to bear in mind that a lender will look at other aspects your of credit application as well other than just your credit score. Do no expect to get a personal loan just because you have a credit rating that is based on your spouse’s credit report. The lender will want to know about your source of your income as well. And if it is your spouse that is going to be paying for the loan, then he will probably want him or her as a cosigner on the loan application.

Getting a credit card could be a simpler matter of getting it from the bank where you maintain a good account history even if you have no direct source of income. Using a credit card will build your credit history.

Having separate credit accounts and credit reports is not a bad thing. As we have talked about it later, even after marriage it is a good idea to keep the accounts that you have been maintaining as separate. Your credit rating is your own and you do not want occurrence like separation and divorce in the future to take a toll on your credit worthiness. If you feel that you have worked hard to maintain a good transaction and payment history on an account and you are the more responsible one, keep the account in your name and do not be in too much of a hurry to add your spouse to your credit cards. Encourage your spouse to maintain his/her credit cards separately or even use yours without adding him/her as a joint user.

What Information Does the Credit Bureau Collect About You

The first thing to know here is that, apart from certain personal and identifying information, the credit reporting agencies only collect information regarding your credit and trade accounts.

There are 2 main sources of the information that each one of the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian use to compile infomation about you. These are:

  1. Creditors.
  2. Public Records.

Record provided by the creditor

When ever you have any kind of a credit account i.e. loan, credit card, it is likely that the account is reported to the credit bureaus by the creditor. This is what makes up your credit history.

The creditor reports information about your loan amount such as the loan amount, date of operation, credit limit, monthly installments and the payment history on the loan for the past few years.

Every time that you apply for credit, even that is usually recorded in your credit report as an ‘enquiry’ as long as the creditor made a request to access your credit file to the credit reporting agency.

Your personal information such as name, address, phone number and social security number is included in your credit report, which is also used to verify your identity when you make a request for a free credit report etc. This information is the same as provided by the lender and as received by him on the credit application filled by you.

Information from Public Records

The credit reporting agencies also collect information from public records like court statements and tax records. Federal bankruptcy records and tax liens stay on the credit history for a period of 10 years. Any other judgment related to financial matters is also recorded.

There is, however, a third source of information as well. You.

Credit agencies can list any information that you provide them about yourself on your credit file as well. For example, if they ask for a copy of your driver’s license to verify your identity in order to mail you a credit report, they can include your driver’s license number in the personal information section of your credit file. Many people unwittingly provide the credit bureaus with information that has no need to be put on your credit file and one that you would rather not become viewable by anyone and sundry who views your credit report in the future. For example, consumers sometimes provide date of births for their parents over the phone as a part of some strange verification process. This information is usually not required.

So be careful of what you tell the credit reporting agencies regarding your personal details. Any extra information you give them can be included on your credit file.

If they ask for a copy of your driver’s license, make a copy by masking the license number by a strip of paper or tape. The remaining information present should be enough to verify your identity.



How Often Should I Check My Credit Report?

The number of times that you check your credit report in a year differs from one situation to another. First of all, you can check each of your credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, which are the 3 main credit reporting agencies, absolutely free every year. There are no strings attached and you will not be charged, unless you unwittingly or deliberately, end up ordering some ancillary service as well such as credit monitoring or your credit score. (How to order a free credit report over Phone, Mail and the Internet).

Did you know that majority of people that set out to get their free annual credit report online end up spending money doing it? If you do not want to be one such person, read our post on How to Get Your Credit Report On www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You will learn how to anticipate and avoid paying for extras.

That said, you can check your credit report as often as you wish beyond the free report, as long as you are willing to pay for it.

The question is, whether you need to. For most people, the answer will probably be “no”. Most of the people do not end checking their credit report even once a year, in spite of it being free, simply because they have no need to.

There are times when you have an excellent reason to check your credit report. The most popular being when you intend to apply for a loan or credit. The more serious the nature of the loan, the more important it is that you review your credit report. This is done so that you have time to address possible issues on it and make it as competent and complete as possible before the lender has a chance to review it. For example, if you intend to apply for a home loan, check your credit report and score 6 months in advance so that you have time to do something about any information that you do not like. For more help on fixing and repairing your credit report, view our sections on Fix Credit Report and Improve Credit Scores.

Similar instances are when you are looking for a job. It is not uncommon for the employer to review the credit file of an employee before hiring. So it makes sense for you to know what your credit file says about you beforehand. The good news is that you eligible for a special free credit report if you are unemployed and seeking employment. Contact the credit bureaus directly for more details. You can find the contact information for credit bureaus here.

All said and done, you should check your credit report at least once a year. Just to make sure that it has all the correct information about you. Even if you do not intend to apply for a loan, having your credit file in order is something that you must do. Your credit report is quiet an important record as far as your future financial transactions are concerned. One way to do is to order your free credit report from each credit bureau at the same time. Another way is to order each credit report every 4 months. Depending on works better for you, you can do either. Remember, your 3 credit reports are liable to be different from each other because: a) They have different methods of reporting and recording data b) Different lenders might report to different credit bureaus.

There are situations that require you to be more vigilant about whats being reported on your credit file. These situations are usually when you are trying to build credit and wan to monitor your credit file or when you have been a victim of identity theft and want keep a close watch on whats happening with your credit. In these circumstances you will probably need a service like credit monitoring that, for a fixed monthly fee, allows you to see your credit report unlimited number of times.

So the question of how often you should check your credit report really depends on you. Once again, be disciplined enough to check all 3 credit files from the 3 main credit reporting agencies at least once a year. It is not uncommon for mistakes to be present on a credit report such as wrong social security number, incorrect name, account wrongly reported etc. all of which can effect your credit score.

Read more about What Information to Dispute and Correct On a Credit Report.

Remember, even if you are not bothered about it now, fallacies on a credit report can come back to bite you in the future.


What Is Rapid Credit Repair?

Rapid credit repair is not for everyone. It is true that it can make quick change to your credit report by removing the inaccurate and outdated information within days and weeks. But not everyone should consider as a way of fixing their credit score. This method can be used by people who need money on credit urgently and the loan has been denied to them on the basis of their credit score. However, this system only works when the damage to your credit score is due to anomalies and errors in your credit report. Cases of identity theft are ideal for a rapid credit repair program because it can severely damage the score of a person. You should also be able to support your claims of errors by proper documents and proof.

The way that rapid credit repair works is that you get to work with a credit manager who acts as an intermediary between you and the credit bureaus. This manager is appointed by credit agencies that are subsidiaries of the national credit bureaus. You can easily find one locally in your town by contacting one of the credit bureaus.

This service is a paid service so you should make sure beforehand if you stand to benefit from becoming a part of the rapid credit report program. The first thing that you need to ensure is that there are genuine errors and outdated information on your credit report which can be disputed by you with adequate documented proof. Just saying so will not help matter any. There are, however, instances when the items are removed not because you provide proof to the contrary but because the creditor fails to provide the necessary information to substantiate the negative entry. The creditor is usually given a time for 30 days to provide this information.

Secondly, you should also be aware of the fact that removing the inaccurate negative items from your credit history will not necessitate an increase in your credit score. Discuss this aspect in detail with your credit manager before you decide to sign up for the program.

Your Credit Rating Might Need Repairs Even If You Do Not Think so

Your credit score needs to be repaired whether you think you need it or not. People who do not face issues with their credit score and maintain an average or above average score can save money by improving their credit just by following a few simple steps. Something as basic as when and how many times you pay your credit card bill makes a difference to your score. While you may not have a problem getting a loan or insurance, you can reduce the amount you pay on interest by improving your credit score. A higher credit score can only be advantageous. Paying attention to small details regarding your credit history will save you money in the long run.

You may or may not be aware of the fact that a small change in the interest rate for long term loans, mortgages and insurance policies can save you thousands of dollars. You owe it to yourself to make the best use of your hard earned money. After all money saved is money earned. Use it for some important expense or something that you always wanted such as kid’s college fee or a vacation.

You may be thinking that this does not apply to you and your credit score is fine. That is the point that we are trying to make. You can never know whether your credit score is as good as it can be till you have examined your credit report from the three credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Fortunately, the federal law provides that you are entitles to a free copy of your credit report from each of these bureaus once a year. However, getting one can be slightly tricky if you do not want to get side swept in to paying for one. But we will tell you exactly how to about the process of getting yours for completely free. You may even be entitles to 2 free reports a year. Read the credit report section to get the low down on this fact.