Only last month, one of my close friends spotted a big error in his credit report. His home mortgage was wrongly shown as unpaid when it has been paid for over a year now. Such errors in credit reports are not uncommon and it is a good idea to check yours to avoid getting bad deals on future loans. If you find an error in your report, then do not panic as it is not difficult to get the mistakes corrected.
You are entitled by law to get three free credit reports every year. You can get one report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Transunion, Equifax and Experian online. Remember that these are the only genuine free credit report sources. Do not fall for advertisements by credit agencies used to trap gullible customers.
It is important that you get these reports at least once every year. Once you get the report, you should go through all the three credit reports carefully. Some common errors that creep up are wrong addresses, debts which you have never taken, wrong details about open and closed lines of credit and inclusion of credit cards that you do not really have. Such mistakes can have a moderate to big effect on your credit scores.
After you discover a mistake, then the first step is to make a dispute claim online with all the credit agencies in whose report the mistake was present. Give all the supporting information and documents that justify your claim. The credit agencies would cross-check the information with the lender, bank or credit card issuer. Then, they will give a response either by accepting your claim or denying it.
If the lender, bank or credit card issuer rejects your claim, then you will have to contact them directly. If your cancelled credit card is still being reported as open, then contact the credit card company and get a clarification. If you convince the company, then you can get the credit agency to make the necessary correction in your report.
Due to the possibility of mistakes in your credit history, it is important that you get your credit reports periodically and check them. I recommend that you get one of the free reports after every four months and check the details in the report. Once you find a mistake, you should act immediately. Credit reports determine your credit scores which are used by the lenders to determine your credit worthiness. Keeping your credit report clean and accurate will be important for all future borrowing of money.