Whether someone alerts you to it or not, sometimes mistakes show up on your credit report. And while I have not had any major things come up, I have had credit lines (and even an old car loan!) show as still being open when in fact they had been closed a long while back. If you have been told or are curious to see if there are any mistakes on your report and want to work on fixing them, here are some steps you should take.
First off, you should have a copy of your credit report from each of the three big credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Keep in mind that you are entitled to one free credit report from each per year, and you can get that from www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the only legitimate place sponsored by the credit bureaus themselves where you can get a free credit report online, so do not be fooled by other services who offer you free credit reports in exchange for signing up for credit monitoring and the like. I get my 3 reports a year from that site – one every 4 months so I can see my report throughout the year. If you already got your free ones, you can pay for another copy from the agencies themselves.
photo credit: TheTruthAboutMortgage.com
Search carefully through all three reports for the mistake(s) that you think might exist. Be sure to check for open and closed lines of credit, credit cards you don’t have, bank loans that might not be yours, addresses that you never lived at – anything out of the norm that you don’t recognize could be a sign of an error.
When you find any mistake, file a dispute claim with each credit bureau online at their website. Explain to them what you think the issue is and provide any backup information that will help them verify your claims. The credit bureaus will then contact the bank/lender/credit card company and see what information they can get back from them either agree with your claim or deny it.
If the company denies your claims, you will have to take the issue up with them directly. So if the problem lies with Visa, you will have to deal with them to try to get some resolution. If the company agrees with your claims, then the credit bureaus will remove the error from your credit report.
It is always good to monitor your credit report all year, and that is why I pull one of my free ones every 4 months so I can keep track. If you have not already started doing that, go ahead and get a copy of one of them from www.annualcreditreport.com. and start monitoring your reports!