Congratulations on your decision to buy a home. Reviewing your credit reports is a wise move before you apply for a mortgage. As you look at your credit reports, it’s not uncommon to find items that you believe are inaccurate. While correcting information related to your identity or address may be important, those corrections don’t have an impact on your credit score. When you successfully dispute negative information like late payments, resolving those disputes can positively impact your credit score. Fortunately, disputing an item on your credit report is a straightforward process you can handle yourself.
There are three national credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You’ll want to make sure you are contacting the specific agency that reported the mistake. While you can file your dispute with each credit reporting agency online, by phone, or by mail, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that consumers send their disputes in writing by certified mail with the return receipt requested. Your letter needs to include:
- Your full name and address
- The item(s) in error
- Your explanation of why you believe the item is a mistake
- Your request for correction or removal
- Copies of documents that support your dispute
- A copy of the credit report with a circle around the item(s) in question
You may want to use FTC’s sample letter as a template for your dispute letter. You should keep a copy of your dispute letter and the originals of all your enclosures.
How to Contact the Credit Reporting Agencies
Each credit reporting agency is a separate entity. None of them charge a fee to file or investigate a dispute. In other words, disputing an error on your credit report is always free.
The quickest way to file a dispute or check the status of your dispute with TransUnion is online. Although the company is allowed 30 days for an investigation, TransUnion promises to contact you as soon as its investigation is complete.
Phone: (800) 916-8800
Mail: TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
This company responds to disputes in the same manner in which the complaint was originally filed. For example, Equifax responds to disputes filed online by email. Therefore, Equifax requests you file your dispute via your preferred mode of contact.
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
You can file a dispute via the dispute buttons on the online version of your Experian credit report. If you’re filing by mail, you need to include the following in addition to the information listed at the beginning of this article.
- Your Social Security number
- Your date of birth
- A copy of your government-issued identification
- All addresses where you’ve lived in the last two years
- A copy of a bank statement, utility bill, or similar document
Phone: Refer to the phone number on your credit report
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
How the Credit Reporting Agencies Handle Your Dispute
The credit reporting agency usually has 30 days from the day it receives your dispute to investigate. The credit reporting agency will contact the furnisher, the company that provided the information in dispute. If the furnisher verifies it made an error, it has to correct the information with all three credit reporting agencies. When the investigation is complete, you should be notified in writing of the results within five days. You should receive a free copy of your credit report if a change were made to it.
If the furnisher insists the disputed information is correct, you can ask the credit reporting agency to include your statement disputing the item in your credit file and future credit reports.
When you’re ready to apply for your mortgage, contact the experienced professionals at Equity Prime Mortgage LLC.