Believe it or not, the people who send in the information that dictates your credit score, and the bureaus themselves, are made up of humans? The reason this is important is that people make mistakes. That being said, it is possible that a mistake has been made on your credit report that is dropping your FICO score. Assuming you’ve caught an error, what do you do? Well, each of the three big credit bureaus has its own ways to dispute an apparent error. They’re all very similar.
The Big Three
Once you’ve seen your report and found the error, all you need to do is go Equifax,TransUnion, or Experian. Any one of these links will take you to that bureau’s dispute page. Once you’ve logged in, follow the steps to file a dispute and you should be good to go. Once you’ve filed your dispute, it’ll take up to 30 days for a bureau to investigate and deliver the findings to you. If they find there was an error, they will fix it and adjust your credit report, thus potentially improving your credit score.
There is one other thing that can be done to fix a mistake on your report. Should there be an error, you can contact the company on whose account the mistake appears. In doing so, you skip having to go through the credit bureau and you get directly to the source. If all goes well, the issuer will have the bureaus fix the mistake and your report will be glowing. This may not be an appropriate avenue in all cases, especially if you’re dealing with identity fraud. In that case, you’d go directly to the bureau.
Regardless of which route you take, always keep an eye on your email. Typically, once you’ve signed up for one of the credit bureaus and you’ve submitted a dispute, they will give you updates as to where the process is.
Should you find an error on your report, file a dispute. It’s free and is settled quickly. Cross-reference all bureaus to see if the problem is throughout the big three. Take a look at your report and see if there are any mistakes. Fixing them costs nothing.