How to update balances on your credit report in these days of living and dying by your credit score. It is extremely frustrating when a credit bureau reports incorrect information to your potential lender. Why does this happen, and how can you fix it?
Credit bureaus, like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are, of course, run by human beings. They are undoubtedly educated, experienced, and well-trained human beings, but even the best-trained employee can make a mistake. All it takes is one moment of inattention or a typo to turn your hard-earned high credit score into a disaster.
Even computers are not perfect. Once in a while a glitch in the software that directs the credit bureau’s computer how to handle your credit information can calculate credit balances incorrectly, or fail to post your latest credit card information at all.
Sometimes the agency reporting information to the credit bureau is not doing its job. Perhaps the bank or mortgage company handling your home loan is behind in its transfer of information to the credit bureau, or maybe your credit card company is having internal data-handling difficulties.
What to Do About It
Whatever the reason behind the inaccurate information in your credit report, you want to fix it and fix it NOW. So many businesses, lenders, landlords, and employers check your credit history to make decisions about you that it is absolutely essential to have an accurate credit report. And you have every right to dispute entries on your credit report that are not correct or up to date. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that credit bureaus conduct an investigation into your complaint within 30 days of your request.
Tips for Making a Report
Always have a copy of your most recent credit report with you when you report an error, as well as your most recent credit card, mortgage payment, car loan payment, or whichever credit information you are disputing.
Put aside some uninterrupted time to deal with this. Fending off cranky children, barking dogs, or annoyed bosses will not help you stay calm and focused.
Take plenty of notes. If you are making the report over the phone, write down the name and job title of each person you deal with, noting the times and dates as well. This will help you later if there is any question about what someone has told you.
Check and double-check the information you provide. When making a report by mail or an online form, make sure that you have typed in the information correctly, that you have provided all balance amounts, lender contact information, and any other disputed information accurately and fully. Make sure that you have filled in every required form field so your request for an investigation will not be delayed or rejected on technical grounds.
Below is contact information for the three major credit bureaus. You can also file online disputes at their websites.
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, Texas 75013
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000