Maintaining an Errorfree Credit Report
One of the most important public records in life is one's credit report. A credit report will report to the financial world how one pays one's bills, whether or not a bankruptcy case has been filed, if one has been arrested or sued, and is designed to give those entities giving credit a complete picture of how one's finances are handled. While most of the time credit reports are highly accurate, there are occasions where erroneous information is included. Keeping a watchful eye over one's credit report and tackling erroneous information right away is crucial.
There are three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. All three basically report the same information; one may contain a piece or two of information not included on the other two. Equifax will allow one to request a full credit report within 60 days of being denied credit while TransUnion and Experian only allow for 30 days. Annualcreditreport.com combines all three services and allows one to receive a full credit report annually.
Telephone contact information for all three credit reporting agencies is as follows:
Business Line: 1-888-202-4025
Office in Georgia: 1-800-685-1111
Dispute Fax Number: 1-888-826-0573
Office in Philidelphia: 1-800-888-4213
1-888-259-6845 (6:00 am to12:00 am PST)
1-800-916-8800 (Consumer relations number)
Office in Texas: 1-888-397-3742
When reporting a dispute over an erroneous entry on one's credit report, each credit reporting agency requires a current credit report in hand. Armed with the information listed and a report number, dispute reporting with each agency works in approximately the same manner. All disputes can be completed online or by regular mail and require specific reasoning behind the dispute. By far, the easiest way to enter a dispute is by utilizing each reporting agency's online dispute process. Once a dispute has been entered, the credit reporting agency contacts the creditor in question. The creditor has anywhere from 30 to 45 days to research and either validate or request removal of the erroneous information. Any items that cannot be verified are expunged from the credit record and the record owner is notified within a business week either by e-mail or regular mail.
After one's credit report has been verified and completely free of errors, it is advantageous to keep a close eye on it going forward. While errors do not occur on a regular basis, they do occasionally pop up. One seemingly minor error can be the difference between being approved for that new home loan and suddenly finding one's self having to put that new home on hold. Diligence and a little bit of time are all that is needed to keep one's credit report accurate.