Disputing Credit Report Errors: Basics and Initial Process

disputing credit report errors
Sep 13, 2022 08:39 AM

by: Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.

One of the single largest factors in determining your acceptance status and other important parts of your mortgage application is your credit score, and many upcoming homebuyers will check their credit report in detail ahead of making any such mortgage application. What happens if, while you're doing this, you notice mistakes or errors present on your report, particularly those that make your creditworthiness look worse than it really should? 

With the David Reitze team at Primary Residential Mortgage, we're happy to offer a wide range of mortgage loan programs, including ideal first-time homebuyer programs like FHA loans -- and also assistance with many parts of the application process. If you've found errors on your credit report while checking it ahead of a mortgage application (or in any other situation, really), the next step will be to dispute these errors. What's this process like, and what do you need to keep in mind through it? Here's a rundown in this two-part blog series.

Determining Accuracy

Firstly, for those unaware, let's briefly discuss the process of determining that there are, in fact, errors on your credit report. It's important to remember that not every blemish or mark is an automatic error; there may be some accurate late payments or other such items present.

You'll need to look over each one and make a determination as to whether the item in question is accurate or not -- and, if you believe it to be inaccurate, what specifically is inaccurate about it. Once you have this information gathered, you'll be in a better position to begin the dispute process with the credit reporting agency (or agencies) in question.

Disputing Mistakes With Bureaus

There are three major credit bureaus that you're likely to need to deal with in this process, depending on which ones the creditors in question report to: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can find more information about these companies and how to contact them at their websites.

Within your credit report, any errors you find can be pinpointed to the specific bureau they came from; you'll then dispute the error with that bureau. The other two bureaus will be notified of the dispute and can investigate on their own, though they're not required to do so.

The Dispute Process

To dispute an error on your credit report with a bureau, you'll need to contact the bureau in question -- generally via mail, though some may offer online dispute filing as well. When contacting them, include:

  • Your name, address, and phone number
  • A list of the errors in question; be specific
  • Documents or other evidence backing up your claim of inaccuracy
  • A statement requesting that the error be investigated and corrected

After receiving your dispute, the bureau in question has 30 days to look into the matter and take appropriate action. This may mean removing the error from your report, correcting it, or simply contacting the creditor who reported the error and informing them of your dispute. The bureau will also send you a written notice of their decision and, if the error was corrected, notify the other two bureaus of this so that they may correct their own records.

In part two of our series, we'll go over what to do if the bureau's investigation doesn't solve your dispute, plus some other concepts that may arise here. For more on this, or to learn about any of our home loan programs or great mortgage rates, speak to the David Reitze team at Primary Residential Mortgage today.

*PRMI NMLS 3094. PRMI is an Equal Housing Lender. Some products and services may not be available in all states. Credit and collateral are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. Programs, rates, terms, and conditions are subject to change and are subject to borrower(s) qualification. This is not a commitment to lend. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views of my employer.

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