A credit report contains a lot of personal information. This includes your address, how your bills are paid, whether you have ever filed bankruptcy, and if you have ever been arrested or sued.
A credit reporting company will sell this information to insurers, employers, creditors, as well as other businesses that will then use this information in order to determine whether or not they provide you with credit, employment, insurance, or even to rent a home.
With all of this on the line it is easy to see that a credit report is an important document when it comes to your finances. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act was designed to ensure that the privacy as well as the accuracy of this information is kept safe.
Most financial advisors will suggest that you take the time to review your credit report at the very least once a year. Most consumer advocates that you review it every few months. There are several reasons that you should go over your credit report periodically including:
- The information on a credit report can affect whether or not you can get lines of credit or a loan. It also will affect the interest rate of these loans
- Credit report errors occur quite often. It is important to make sure that the information on your credit report is correct before applying for any major type of loan, applying for a job, or if you are purchasing insurance.
- Checking your credit report can also help guard against identity theft.
The information contained on your credit report is extremely important. If you find an error on credit report it is important to make sure that you get these fixed as soon as possible.
The FCRA was put in place in order to protect consumers. Under this federal law it is the job of both the credit reporting agency and the credit information provider to make sure that the information that is on a credit report is free of errors. If there are credit report errors found it is both the reporting agency and the information provider’s job to make sure that these errors are corrected.
When it comes to how to dispute credit report errors that are found on your credit report, the first step will be to contact the credit reporting agency about the error. You should report the error to the company in writing.
In your letter to the reporting agency you will need to inform the company what information is on your report that is not accurate. A sample dispute letter can be found here. This form can be used to help you create a letter to dispute any errors that you have found.
Along with the letter you will want to include any information that you can provide about why the information is inaccurate. In addition, you should include a copy of your credit report with the incorrect information circled.
Make sure that you send the letter through certified mail and request a return receipt. This will allow you to know exactly when the reporting company received your dispute letter. Make sure that you keep copies of the letter and any information that you enclosed along with it.
Once a credit reporting agency receives a dispute letter they will start an investigation into the matter within 30 days. In addition, the information will be forwarded to the information provider. While the credit reporting agency will send the information to the information provider, it is also a good idea to write your own dispute letter to the information provider as well.
Once the investigation is completed the credit reporting agency will report back to you the decision. If the information is found to be inaccurate, changes will be made on your credit report. The credit reporting agency will also need to provide you with a copy of your new credit report free of charge.
In addition, the credit reporting agency will need to provide notices of the corrections to your report to any company that has received your credit report over the past six months. In order for this to happen you will need to request it from the credit reporting agency.
A corrected copy of your credit report can be sent to anyone that had received your report for employment purposes over the past 2 years.
If the investigation into your dispute comes back unresolved, you may ask the credit reporting agency to include a dispute statement in your file and in all of your future credit reports. You may also ask that the credit reporting agency provide your statement to past recipients of your credit report, but expect to pay a fee for this to occur.
It is important to note that your credit file does not necessarily include all of your credit accounts. While most national credit card accounts and department store cards will be included in your credit file, not all creditors provide information to credit reporting agencies.
There are some credit unions, local retailers, entertainment, gasoline, and travel card companies that do not provide credit reporting agencies with this information.
When it comes to credit report errors, it is important to make sure that you take care of the errors as soon as possible. Disputing an error can take some time, but typically within 30 days you will be able to have any errors found on your credit report corrected or at the very least investigated.
However, if there is negative information on your report that is correct, the only way to ensure its removal is time. Credit reporting agencies are allowed to report accurate information about any of your accounts for up to seven years. If you have filed for bankruptcy it can be reported on your report for up to ten years.