According to an FTC study, 1 in 5 people has an error on their credit report. Errors can persist even when you bring them to the attention of the credit bureaus. 70% of consumers with errors on their report still saw errors after they disputed them.
If you want to remove errors from your credit report, you have to get the attention of the credit bureaus.
Let’s get rid of those nasty errors once and for all!
Option 1: Disputing Major Errors
This option shows how to dispute major errors on your Equifax Credit Report by yourself. A major error is any negative information that will hurt your credit score. This includes collections, repossessions, foreclosure, short sales, late payments, judgements and more.
The more recent the negative information, the more it drags down your credit score.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to an accurate credit report. Credit bureaus must investigate lenders must investigate claims about errors. The process below gives you the language you need to dispute errors on your Equifax Credit Report.
Most people don’t get errors resolved because Equifax doesn’t think they have a valid claim. This happens when people fail to provide accurate information and helpful documentation. We show you how to provide both.
Step One: Identify errors
Fixing an error on your credit report starts with identifying one. You can get a complete Equifax Credit Report for free from CreditKarma.com. If you spot an error, get your full Equifax report from AnnualCreditReport.com.
You can get one free copy of your Equifax credit report each year.
Step Two: Contact The Creditor
Most errors on your credit report will involve accounts you recognize. Errors associated with delinquent debt often surface when creditors buy or sell the debt.
To get accurate records of the debt, you need to contact the original creditor. Ask the original creditor to send all the documentation associated with the account. This can include account activity, a detailed record of what you owe, who owns the debt now, and more.
If the account in question is current, ask the creditor about the error. For example, ask if your credit card company accidentally reported a late payment. Calling the bank to correct it will save you a dispute.
Some errors arise because of identity theft. The most common form of identity theft is account takeover. This happens when a fraud steals your account number and uses it to make purchases. Banks have specific protections to help you unravel the effects of account takeover. Once you alert the bank about account fraud, they will work with you. Banks tend to remove fraudulent from your credit report once you finish their process.
Identity takeover is a less common and more serious form of identity theft. It happens when someone applies for credit in your name. If you don’t recognize an account, you could be the victim of identity takeover. Before you take steps to resolve the identity theft. Contact the creditor to be sure that you’re not just a victim of bad reporting. Otherwise, you’ll need to follow these steps to resolve identity theft.
One of the steps will include placing an identity fraud alert on your account at Equifax.
Step Three: Gather Documents with accurate information
After you get documentation from the bank, you may need more documentation. This includes evidence of payments, records of settling a judgement, collection letters and more. Even a screenshot that shows evidence of payments can help your case.
If you determined that you’re the victim of identity theft, include a copy of your police report and your identity theft affidavit. These will help Equifax understand why they cannot trust the data entry you’re disputing.
Most disputes do not contain any documentation, so Equifax dismisses them. By including copies of hard evidence, you know that Equifax will investigate your dispute.
Step Four: Dispute Errors
Finally, you’re ready to dispute errors. To dispute an error at Equifax, send a letter to:
P.O. Box 740256.
Atlanta, GA 30374
The research request form helps Equifax determine which accounts need to be investigated.
Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for your own records.
If you prefer to dispute errors online, you can use the Equifax Dispute Portal.
The portal allows you to write a letter, upload documents, and explain your dispute. If you choose to communicate through the online portal, you’ll receive information from Equifax via email.
Whether you dispute online or through the mail, use this template for disputing errors:
[Your City, State, Zip Code]
Equifax Information Services LLC.
P.O. Box 740256.
Atlanta, GA 30374
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to dispute the following errors on my Equifax Credit Report. I circled the items I dispute on the attached copy of the credit report.
This [disputed item] for Account # [Your Account Number] from [Bank Name] is not accurate because [describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why (This is a duplicate record, I paid the bill on time, the account did not go to collections, we settled the matter prior to trial, etc.)]. I am requesting that Equifax replace the errors with the correct information.
I’m providing documentation that shows the correct information. You can see that on [Date], I did [action (took out only one account, paid bill, settled debt, etc.)]
Please [request specific action such as: remove the negative information, delete the duplicate record, update the record to show on time payment, etc.)]
I’ve included the following documents supporting my position:
- Copy of credit report with disputed items
- [List documents enclosed such as bank records, copy of payment letters, etc.]
Please reinvestigate this these matters and correct the disputed information as soon as possible.
Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing.]
Step Five: Follow Up
Once you start your dispute with Equifax, they have 30 days to investigate the matter. If you dispute online, Equifax may email you requesting more information. Technically, Equifax has to investigate the matter on their own. However, your documentation from you may help them.
Within 30 days, Equifax will either confirm the data, or they will update your file. If Equifax changes your report, you can get a free copy of your credit report.
Option 2: Disputing Questionable Information
Some credit reports contain duplicate records or negative information added in bad faith. These dubious entries prove much harder to dispute because they contain half truths. Investigating these matters can be expensive for Equifax. The expense may tempt Equifax to dismiss your claims as invalid. You do not want this to happen, so you need to dispute strategically.
Equifax is much more likely to invalidate your dispute if they think you’re credit jamming. Credit jamming means you’re disputing all the negative information on your report at once.
When it comes to disputing questionable information, you need to be strategic. You may wish to enlist help from a credit repair company like Lexington Law.
If you prefer to dispute questionable information yourself, you need to do it the right way. These guides show you how.
- How to remove late payments
- How to remove collections
- How to remove repossessions
- How to remove tax liens
- How to remove judgements
Disputing the error with Equifax is not always the right solution to fix your credit.
Option 3: Disputing Minor Errors
Some errors on your credit report won’t affect your credit score. These are things like the name or address on your credit accounts. Disputing these errors won’t raise your credit score. You still may wish to make your credit report more accurate.
Equifax recommends that you contact your creditors to correct minor errors. If the bank is slow to fix your report, log on to the Equifax dispute portal, and explain your dispute there. Within 30 days, Equifax will fix the problem.