Can I Dispute Errors on My Credit Reports?

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - November 17, 2020

If you're planning on getting an auto loan in the near future, the first step is to know what's on your credit reports. Knowing what lenders are seeing only gets you so far, though. If you discover errors on your credit reports, it's worth it to fix them, and there are a few ways you can.

Clean Up Your Credit Reports

It's important to know that once something hits your credit reports, it typically stays there for seven years or more – even if it's wrong. Negative accounts can harm your credit score, and, in turn, lower your chances of getting approved for a car loan. Errors can cost you – literally! A lower credit score usually means qualifying for higher interest rates, which means you pay more money when you need to take on credit.

Some common mistakes can include: accounts that should have dropped off by now, accounts that aren’t yours, wrong names or addresses listed, or even duplicates. These can clutter up your credit reports and make it harder to get approved for new credit, so it's worth it to remove them if you find any errors.

To remove incorrect information from your credit reports, you need to file a dispute with the credit bureau that’s reporting it.

How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Reports

When it comes to disputing errors on your credit reports, you typically have a few options to choose from. Once you get a copy of your credit reports, you should go over them carefully to ensure that there aren't any mistakes. If you do find any, they're usually fixable.

Follow these steps to dispute errors on your credit reports:

  1. In order to know if you have errors that need removing from your credit reports, you first need to know what's on them. Now through April 2021 you can view your credit reports from the three national credit bureaus for free once a week. You can request them by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Once you have a copy of your reports, go through them to look for mistakes. You may have different information listed on different credit reports. When you're disputing an error, you have to contact the credit bureau(s) that’s reporting it. If the info is corrected, though, the bureau typically alerts the other major credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax – of the change. You can gather copies of your reports from all three national credit bureaus and go through them all at once to compare. Or, you can request a different report each week.
  3. If errors are found, you have to open a dispute. The most common method of disputing mistakes on your credit reports is to file a claim online with the reporting credit bureau. You can also write a dispute letter or contact the call center for the credit bureau who has the incorrect information listed on your credit report.
  4. Once the reporting credit agency has your dispute, they're required to respond to you, in writing, generally within 30 days. If the dispute was accepted and impacts your credit reports, the bureau has to send you a free copy of your amended credit report, and alert the other credit reporting companies of the update.

Credit Repair Companies

If you don't want to do all the work of finding, disputing, and cleaning up your credit reports yourself, you can opt for a credit repair company to do these steps for you. These companies typically require a subscription, so it's up to you whether you want to spend the money to clean up your credit reports.

It doesn't take any less time, but all the work is done by a professional credit repair company. Credit repair companies take on the credit bureaus for you. Many of them operate on a subscription service basis, but they can't demand payment before you see results.

Other Credit Repair Methods

If your credit score isn't the best and you want to clean it up, it comes down to more than just removing errors from your credit reports. Disputing incorrect information helps if there are multiple mistakes bringing down your credit rating, but other methods may work better if there isn’t anything being wrongly reported.

Here are a few ways you can give your credit score a hand:

  • Ongoing credit repair – One of the simplest ways to build your credit is to make sure all your bills are paid on time. Payment history makes up the largest part of your score score, accounting for 35% of it.
  • Become an authorized user – By becoming an authorized user on a friend or family member's credit card(s), your credit gets the benefits of the account. Think of it as attaching yourself to the card's payment history. Once you're an authorized user, anything that happens to the credit account, good or bad, affects both your credit and the cardholders.
  • Get an auto loan – A car loan gives you the opportunity to make payments on a large loan for a long time, which goes a long way toward building a better credit score. Plus, it also impacts the other four factors that combine with payment history to build your credit score.

Auto Loans Also Help Repair Credit

If you're ready to start your credit repair journey with an auto loan, CarsDirect wants to help. We work with a large network of special finance dealerships all across the country that have the lenders available to assist bad credit borrowers.

Rather than looking all over town, let us point you in the right direction. Simply fill out our fast, free, and no-obligation car loan request form and we'll get to work matching you to a local dealer.

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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