So you have that first credit card and you are making sure you do everything possible to ensure wise use of you card. Even with you doing everything right there is always something that can go wrong. In fact errors in your credit report are much more common than you might think. According to a recent study found on CNN Money, around 42 Million Americans have errors in their credit reports! 42 MILLION! Errors in your credit score can cost you loans, jobs, security clearances, and above all WILL cost you money in the long run. So what can you do to ensure that your report is a 100% accurate representation of you?
1. Take a Look at That Credit Report.
Obviously you won’t know if there is a mistake unless you look it over. What should you be looking for? Below is a list of some of the things you should be checking for. Realize that this won’t get you to every single possible error. Try to check a variety of things and make sure all of it is correct.
- Incorrect Activity. Missed payments, late bills, and other items that did not actually occur
- Fraud. Lines of credit, credit cards, and other items that you did not purchase or sign up for
- Incorrect Account Details. Credit limits, balances, or other information that may show incorrectly
- Outdated or wrong Personal Information. Just what it says. If your personal info is not showing up correctly or up to date, other information may be the same.
Another note: Be sure to perform this check on the reports of all three bureaus and compare each of them for accuracy.
2. Request Any Changes
At this point you know that there is either a problem or no problem at all. Obviously, if your report comes back with errors or inconsistencies, there is work to be done. So at this point what can you do? You get everything together and write a letter to the offending credit bureau. Now, I know you are thinking: “A letter? Who is this guy?” Letters may seem outdated but when it comes to the credit bureaus this is the best way to go. Make sure you include all the evidence of your claim and what should be the correct information.
3. Wait And Follow Up
As you wait for a reply, make sure you have made copies of all of your correspondence in both directions. Photocopy what you send and what you receive in return. After waiting a month or so for the bureau(s) to get back to you feel free to follow up with more letters. They are legally obligated to look into any claims of errors so it shouldn’t be much of a problem getting things fixed.
If for some reason your dispute is not resolved, your last resort will probably be disputing the error directly with those parties involved. If you are wondering what exactly should have an effect on your credit and what should not check out more on the relationship between your credit cards and your credit score.
We hope you’ve found this enlightening. Good luck in your future credit endeavors!