Your credit report acts like your financial resume, showing important account information lenders generally use to help make application decisions. That’s why it’s important to regularly check that the information in your report is accurate and up to date. If it’s not, you can dispute the inaccurate or incomplete information with the credit reporting agency. Like any financial topic, credit report disputes can be confusing, so below are some common myths and the truths behind them.
Fact: There are many different scoring models, and their calculation methods may vary slightly. But, they all use the information in your credit reports to determine your score. You can’t directly dispute your credit score. That said, you can dispute incomplete or inaccurate information on your credit report that may be telling a different financial story than you believe to be true. If the dispute results in changes to the information on your credit report, your score may change to reflect this.
Fact: You might think that the only way to get corrections made to your credit report is to pay someone with more understanding to do it for you. But you can easily and securely dispute inaccuracies on your credit report for free on your own. All three nationwide credit reporting agencies offer a way to dispute inaccurate information online. This can be a great option if you are busy during the normal business hours and can’t call.
Many companies advertise credit repair services to consumers, offering to raise credit scores dramatically and quickly. Their strategies usually involve disputing any negative information on your credit reports, whether the information is accurate or not. Only inaccurate information can be disputed, so this tactic can be a waste of time and money. Not all credit help companies are bad. However, with the time it takes to find and hire a legitimate credit repair company, you probably could have completed the dispute yourself for free.
Fact: It can seem odd to see incorrect or outdated personal information on your report, but it’s not factored into your credit score. It’s still important to make sure your personal information is up to date and accurate on your credit reports, though. This ensures lenders see the most current version of your information, and can help protect your data identity against fraud. You can update your personal information like name, date of birth, Social Security number or address by providing documentation to the credit report agency where you need to make the correction. You can also dispute to remove information on your credit report that is not yours.