Errors can appear on one or more of your credit reports due to an error in the information provided about you or as the result of fraud or identity theft.
If you find errors on your credit reports, you should dispute them with the credit reporting company (most often Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) and the furnisher of the information.
Getting ready to dispute
Review the mistakes you identified in the Reviewing Your Credit Reports tool. Then gather any documents you have supporting your dispute.
This can include things like:
- Your credit report with the mistake circled or highlighted
- Copies of anything that proves there's an error – for example, if your report incorrectly shows you’re late paying a credit card, make copies of bills or cleared checks (or money order stubs) showing you’ve paid on time
- Copies of your Social Security card, birth certificate, or other personal identity information, if you’re disputing a mistake related to that information
Submitting the dispute
You can submit a dispute to the credit reporting company by phone, by mail or online. Explain the error and what you want changed. Clearly identify each mistake separately, state the facts, explain why you're disputing the information, and request it be removed or corrected.
Some of the credit reporting companies provide a dispute form you can use. You’ll also want to send a letter explaining the mistake(s).
Make sure you also include copies of all of your supporting documentation. Keep your originals. You can also choose to send a copy of the dispute to the business or individual that provided the incorrect information (furnisher). You can usually find that address on your credit report.
If you’re mailing the dispute information, it’s a good idea to use certified mail with a return receipt requested, if that’s available to you. That way, the post office will send a postcard telling you when your dispute letter was delivered.
Waiting for mistakes to get fixed
The credit reporting company generally has 30 calendar days (45 days in some cases) to investigate your dispute. They have five business days to notify you of the results once the investigation is complete.
If the error is fixed, you’ll receive a copy of your updated credit report, which doesn’t count as your free annual report.
If, as a result of your dispute, a furnisher determines they sent the wrong information to a credit reporting company, they must send the correction to various credit reporting companies to which they had provided the incorrect information.
If you disagree with the results
You can send the credit reporting company a letter stating you don’t agree with the outcome. The credit reporting company has to clearly note the information has been disputed and provide your explanation on any future reports.
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This material is provided for educational and information purposes only. It is not a replacement for the guidance or advice of an accountant, certified advisor or otherwise qualified professional.