Your credit report is one of the most important pieces of financial documentation you have. Monitoring it is one of the best ways to prevent identity theft or stop it on its track.
If you find mistakes, inaccurate information, or entries you don’t recognize on your credit report, you can dispute it with the credit reporting agency.
In this article, we'll show you how to file a credit report dispute with Experian. We'll also tell you what errors to look out for and what these seemingly minor mistakes can actually cost you.
We reviewed official Experian sources to understand its processes when it comes to disputes. We also read feedback and stories of people who went through the process and gathered the best tips.
Don't make the mistake of leaving an incorrect entry on your credit report for too long. Keep reading until the end to find out our top tip when it comes to filing a credit report dispute with Experian.
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Filing a dispute with Experian
If you find any transaction recorded on your credit report that you don’t even remember, act fast. Someone could be using your information for fraudulent transactions, including ID theft.
To file a dispute with Experian, follow the steps below:
1. Thoroughly review your credit report
Make a list of the errors you find, including the account number and name of each creditor, as well as a description of the error. Gather any documentation you have that supports your case, such as receipts, canceled checks, or letters from the creditor.
2. Check your credit reports with the other credit bureaus
It's also a good idea to check your credit reports with the other two major credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion) to see if the same error appears on their reports. If the error appears on more than one report, then you can act more quickly and validate where the problem lies.
The law gives you the right to request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. You can do this by visiting www.annnualcreditreport.com.
It's a good idea to review your credit report periodically to make sure that the information is accurate and complete. By checking all three of your reports, you can be sure that you're catching all of the errors. And that's important because even one mistake could cost you points on your credit score.
3. Contact your financial institutions
This could be the credit card issuer, lender, or collection agency that listed the outdated or inaccurate information.
When you contact the creditor, explain that you're disputing the accuracy of the information on your credit report. Be sure to include your name, address, and Experian credit report number so that they can easily pull up your file.
It's also a good idea to include a copy of your credit report with the errors circled. This will make it easier for the creditor to identify the information you're disputing.
Note that you should never send original documents when disputing your credit report. Always send copies of supporting documentation, and keep the originals for your records.
You can contact a creditor by mail, phone, or email. However, we recommend sending your dispute via certified mail with a return receipt requested. This way, you have proof that they received your dispute and when they received it.
4. File your dispute
The easiest and most convenient way to dispute errors on your Experian credit report is to do it online. Alternatively, you can also choose to do it through mail or over the phone.
Filing your dispute online
- Visit the Experian Dispute Center and click on “Start a new dispute online.”
- Fill in the form with your information, such as your complete name, address, and Social Security number. When you’re done, click on “Submit and Continue.” The website will now redirect you to your credit report, which is divided into different sections including Personal Information, Inquiries, Accounts, and Public Records.
- Select the pieces of information that you think may be erroneous and indicate the reason for your dispute. You’ll have to choose the reason from a drop-down menu, and, depending on the reason you chose, you may also need to provide further explanation or even upload supporting documents.
- When you’re done, review your dispute request and click on “Submit.”
Filing your dispute by mail
- Download and print the Experian Dispute form and fill in the necessary information.
- Prepare the supporting documents that will act as proof of the entries you’re disputing. Additionally, make sure to include the following in your request:
- Copy of a government-issued ID
- Copy of a bank statement, utility bill, or insurance statement
- Mail your dispute form along with your supporting documents to the address below:
Experian Consumer Services
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Filing your dispute over the phone
- Request for a physical copy of your credit report to be delivered to you by calling 866-200-6020.
- Call Experian's customer service team using the number on your credit report and speak to a representative about your dispute.
- The representative will ask you for your personal information and details about the dispute. The representative may also ask you to send them supporting documents either by mail or e-mail.
- Once the representative has all of the necessary information, they’ll be able to start working on your dispute.
What to expect after filing a dispute with Experian
Once Experian receives your dispute, they’ll investigate the claim and determine if the information is inaccurate. In most cases, you’ll receive a notification from Experian within 30 days of filing your dispute.
This notification will include the outcome of the investigation and any updated information that the agency was able to obtain.
If they’re unable to verify the accuracy of the disputed information with the concerned financial institutions, it’ll be removed from your credit report. If they find that the information is indeed inaccurate, they’ll correct it and notify you of the results.
In some cases, they may also notify the lender or creditor who provided the incorrect information.
If you filed your dispute online, you could monitor its status by signing into the Dispute Center and checking the Alerts section. You can also monitor the status of a dispute you filed by phone or mail on the Experian website.
It's important to remember that you can only file a dispute if you believe that there’s an error on your credit report. If you dispute an accurate item, it will remain on your report and may even be flagged as disputed by Experian.
As a result, it's important to be certain that there’s an error before filing a dispute.
Remember that filing a dispute is just one part of taking control of your credit health. You should also regularly review your credit report and keep an eye on your credit score so that you can catch any mistakes early on and take steps to improve your credit profile.
Errors to look out for in your credit report
Checking your credit report for errors is an important part of maintaining good credit. There are a few different types of errors that you should look out for:
1. Inaccurate personal information
This includes incorrect name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If any of this information is incorrect, it could lead to your credit report being mixed up with someone else's.
2. Incorrect account information
This includes mistakes in the account type, balance, credit limit, payment history, and other account details. Incorrect account information can make it appear as though you're mismanaging your accounts, even if you're not.
3. Duplicate accounts
If you see the same account listed more than once on your credit report, it's likely a duplicate. Duplicate accounts can occur when an account is reopened after being closed or when two different reporting agencies have different information for the same account.
4. Inaccurate debt collection information
This includes incorrect contact information for the debt collector, as well as inaccurate information about the debt itself. Incorrect debt collection information can make it difficult to dispute the debt or negotiate a payment plan.
5. Outdated information
Sometimes, outdated information can remain on your credit report. For example, if you closed an account several years ago, it should no longer be listed on your report.
If you see any errors on your credit report, be sure to dispute them with the appropriate credit bureau. By taking action to correct errors on your report, you can help improve your credit score and maintain good credit.
The real cost of a credit report error
A credit report error can have a major impact on your finances. If you're trying to get a loan, an incorrect credit report could lead to a higher interest rate and cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
An incorrect credit report can also make it difficult to get approved for new lines of credit, including credit cards and loans. In addition, errors can also lead to higher insurance premiums and difficulty getting approved for housing.
Even if you're not looking for a loan, an error on your credit report could still cost you money. Many employers now check credit reports as part of the hiring process and having a poor credit score could prevent you from getting the job you want.
In addition, landlords often use credit reports to screen tenants, so an error could impact your ability to rent an apartment or get approved for a lease. In short, a credit report error can have far-reaching consequences.
While the Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to dispute errors on your credit report, the process can be time-consuming and frustrating. The best way to avoid problems is to regularly check your credit report for accuracy and take steps to improve your credit score.
If you spot an error on your credit report, it's important to take steps to correct it right away. By taking action quickly, you can minimize the impact of the error and protect your financial future.
Checking your credit report regularly is the best way to catch errors early. If you do spot an error, be sure to dispute it with the appropriate credit bureau right away. Taking action to correct errors on your credit report can help improve your credit score and maintain good credit.