Your credit scores impact many aspects of your financial health. This is why it’s so important that every item on your credit reports is accurate and belongs to you. If you find an error, whether it’s an incorrect name spelling or an account that isn’t yours, it’s in your best interest to dispute the mistake so it can be removed.
Fortunately for ScoreSense members, the Dispute Center provides a step-by-step guide for disputing incorrect data.
Why Disputing Mistakes Matters
Your right to have an accurate credit report is protected under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It also supports your right to dispute misinformation, such as:
- Misspelled name
- Wrong address
- Wrong Social Security number
- Incorrect payment history
- Accounts that aren’t yours
- Accounts that should have fallen off after seven years but haven’t
- Accounts listed as being in collections but aren’t
- Duplicate accounts
Disputing mistakes is important. One in five people have an error on their credit report that can lower their score. Having a lower score can impact the interest rate you’ll receive for a car loan, credit card application and mortgage.
With a good credit score, you can reduce the amount of interest you pay every year by hundreds of dollars. So if you have inaccurate information about your payment history, then your credit score will be negatively impacted. Remember, your credit score is shaped by five general categories:
- Payment History: Making payments on time every month is crucial for a good score.
- Amount of Debt: The amount of debt you have and your credit limits create your credit utilization ratio.
- Credit Age: The longer your credit history, the better, as long as you’ve been responsible.
- Types of Accounts: Creditors like to see a mix of credit.
- Hard Inquiries: Anytime you want to open a new line of credit, the creditor checks your reports. Too many inquiries within a short time frame can be a red flag to lenders.
What Is the ScoreSense Dispute Center?
The ScoreSense Dispute Center is an online credit tool that walks members through the dispute process. There are four key steps.
Step 1: Collect all three of your credit reports and review them for errors or discrepancies. You may find that an error shows up on one of the reports but not the others. This is because lenders and creditors don’t have to report to all three bureaus.
Step 2: If you find an error on one or all of your reports, visit the TransUnion, Experian or Equifax online page to start the dispute process. Each bureau also provides the option to dispute via mail and phone.
Step 3: Each bureau has its own process for handling your dispute, so follow the instructions for specific requirements and steps. File the requisite documentation to resolve errors as quickly as possible.
Step 4: The bureau has 30 days to look into the dispute and drop or correct the errors. In some situations, it may take 45 days for you to receive a response. If the error isn’t resolved in that time, or if you haven’t received information about your status, follow up with the credit agency.
Talk to ScoreSense
ScoreSense members can also get one-on-one help from credit specialists who are ready to answer questions via phone or online chat.