Credit History Mistakes
Credit scores are not just used to obtain loans, but they can also be used in security and employment checks. Therefore it is imperative that consumers ensure that their credit history is free of errors. Unfortunately, there are many ways that mistakes can work themselves into the files maintained by the three major credit bureaus.
How Credit Report Mistakes Occur
One of the more common ways that erroneous information is applied to people’s credit is through simple misidentification. For example, people with very common names such as Mark Smith and Susan Jones can have their information confused with another person’s. These types of errors occur even more frequently when people apply for credit using variations of their name such as Rob instead of Robert.
Other times, clerical errors are introduced in the input or reading of a person’s hand-written information. These errors can be as simple as inputting a juxtaposed number.
How To Resolve Errors
First, consumers must be vigilant in examining their credit reports and looking for these errors. Thanks to a 2004 Federal law, Americans are entitled to a free annual credit report from the credit bureaus. Consumers should be especially careful to request reports from the three major agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Consumers can also receive their credit report if they have applied for a loan and been turned down, or if they are unemployed and planning to apply for a job within 60 days.
Next, they should closely scrutinize the information contained in these reports. If any negative information is found that is inaccurate, consumers have the right to dispute that information. Consumers can collect the evidence that supports their claim and submit it to the credit bureau. Disputes should be submitted in writing and the bureaus are required to investigate your question within 30 days. They must send any evidence you proved about the inaccuracy to the entity that originally reported that information to the credit bureau. Even if the dispute is not resolved in the consumers favor, he or she can request that their side of the story is included in the credit file. Finally, all information is removed from consumer’s credit history after seven years, with the exception of bankruptcies which remain for ten.
By understanding how credit mistakes can happen, and hot to resolve them, consumers can take the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy of their reports in order to maintain the highest possible credit scores and qualify for the best credit card offers.