Disputing Your Credit Report-What You Need to Know

Managing credit often becomes complicated when you are disputing your credit report or details on the report have been lost, confused, unknown. Many times there will be errors with purchases or credit records. Other times, you may be dealing with fraud from information being stolen and used by someone else. No matter what the error, the credit bureau can offer tips, information, and help for credit reports that don’t have the right information.

open laptop displaying a credit dispute form for disputing your credit report

There are three major credit bureaus that provide reports to individuals so they know what their credit standing is. These are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request a free credit report every year* to make sure there are no errors and that identity fraud is not occurring, otherwise you will have to pay a small fee to access your report.

If you notice that your credit report is inaccurate, then you have the right to dispute inaccuracies. There are three ways to dispute information in your credit report, including online, by telephone or through mail.

It is important to note the confirmation number of the report first sent to you. If you don’t have a confirmation number it means that the credit file is compiled by an affiliate or you have purchased your credit report through a reseller (such as a credit monitoring service). Even if you got the report through an affiliate or reseller, you can still file a dispute as the information will also be on your credit report with the bureau. You will have to get another credit report from one of the three companies listed above before you can start the dispute process.

Once you have the credit report, simply review the report for inaccuracies and those entries that are not valid may be disputed. With everything that you claim is incorrect and dispute, you must give a reason why you believe the information is false. You can dispute information by mail, telephone or online. If you are disputing a credit item online, be assured security measures are always taken. These are known as Secure Socket Layers and have codes in order for you to be able to provide the proper information without it being lost or stolen online.

After making a dispute with the credit bureau, an investigation will begin of your credit report. Whichever bureau you go through will collect and organize information from several different resources, including records, historical information, your bank, and information from the company the supposed false information is with.

After the investigation is completed, the credit bureau will send you a confirmation which you can view online. This will contain the results of their investigation. The full time allotted for any of these disputes is a maximum of thirty days. It is always possible to check the status of the investigation at any time during the process. If you have disputed your credit by phone or mail, the results will be mailed to you after thirty days.


If you are not satisfied with the conclusions the credit bureau has made regarding your report, you may make a consumer statement about the part of your credit that you are not satisfied with. This additional explanation will help your credit if the report does not clear and comes back in the future. The information will also be reviewed a second time to be sure that the investigation was accurate. Many people who have incorrect information on their report will also use credit repair companies to remove inaccurate information. It is important to look into these companies first, as many provide false information to customers and may not be able to fix the inaccurate information as claimed.

As with anything, mistakes will inevitably happen and this applies to credit reports from the three major credit bureaus as well. Additionally, fraud will occur too, however if you are the victim of fraud or a simple credit bureau mistake regarding your credit information there are methods in place that will allow you to have the information corrected.

*This limit has recently been relaxed due to COVID 19 and you can currently request a new report weekly. It is unknown at this time when the credit bureaus will return to the previous standard of one free report per year as provided by federal law.

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