Credit scores and reports are vital tools for loan approvals and determining interest rates, but they aren’t always accurate. More than one-third of consumers found errors on their credit reports, which could affect their interest rates on credit cards and loans, according to a study conducted by Consumer Reports.
If you’re one of the many consumers who find one or more errors on your credit report, that might seem alarming. While it’s important to keep your credit report accurate, it’s also good to know that not every error is worth disputing. Before you get too concerned, determine whether the mistake on your report should be disputed.
Which Credit Report Errors Aren’t Worth Disputing?
Your credit report contains a lot of information, and some of it may be more important than other pieces. Errors in the information that have little or no impact to your credit score may not be worth disputing.
Some errors that you may not want to worry about disputing include:
- Minor errors. If the error is minor, such as an incorrect middle initial, misspelled address or wrong phone number, it probably won’t have a significant impact on your credit score. A minor error may not be worth the time and effort to dispute it.
- Old information. If your credit report contains negative information such as missed payments, collections, or charge-offs that are close to—or more than—seven years old, it may not be worth disputing. That’s because this information will typically fall off your credit report after seven years, so there’s no need to spend time disputing it.
- High credit utilization. Some consumers see a high credit utilization on their credit reports and assume it is an error. However, keep in mind that the credit utilization shown on your report is a total of all the credit you’re using across all your credit cards and loans. If the high utilization reflects your current credit usage, it can be changed by paying down debt or increasing your available credit rather than filing a dispute with the credit bureaus.
- Multiple errors. If there are multiple errors on your credit report, it may be overwhelming to dispute them all at once. Instead, it’s often best to focus on the most significant errors that are affecting your credit score.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine whether an error on your credit report is worth disputing. Consider the potential impact on your credit score, as well as the time and effort required to dispute the error.
Which Credit Report Errors Should Be Disputed?
If you have a major error on your credit report that is likely to negatively affect your credit score, you should dispute it. Such errors can result in higher interest rates or even denials of credit in the future. These types of errors include:
- Incorrect personal information. If your name, address, Social Security number or date of birth is incorrect, that can cause confusion with your credit file and potentially affect your credit score.
- Inaccurate account information. Any account that is incorrectly listed as delinquent, in collections, or has an inaccurate payment history should be disputed. Such an error can have a negative effect on your credit score.
- Identity theft. If your credit report includes credit accounts in your name that you did not open or authorize, you may have been the victim of identity theft. If you have any suspicion of fraud, you should immediately dispute the information with the credit reporting agencies.
How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report?
To dispute an error on your credit report, you will need to contact the credit reporting agency that issued the report and provide them with documentation or evidence that supports your dispute. When you contact them, the credit reporting agency is required to investigate the dispute and make any necessary corrections within 30 days of receiving your dispute.
ScoreSense makes it easy to track all three of your credit scores and reports and stay informed about any potential credit errors. Members also have access to the ScoreSense Dispute Center, which offers step-by-step instructions for how to dispute errors with each bureau. If you’re not a member, try a 7-day trial now.