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How To Correct Errors On Your Credit Report

January 2, 2020 in General   6 min read

One of the biggest fears people have about filing for bankruptcy is what it will do to their credit. As anyone considering bankruptcy probably already knows, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years while Chapter 13 stays on your report for 7 years. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait 7 years or 10 years to start rebuilding your credit.

In fact, you can start as soon as your case is discharged. And one of the most important things you can do to start rebuilding your credit is to address any errors that are on your credit report. And it’s easier than you think. We’ll explain how to correct errors on your credit report so you can start the process of rebuilding your finances right away.

What are the Odds?

According to a report by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), one in four consumers found errors on their credit reports that could impact their scores.  So the odds are pretty good that you have an error on your report that is dragging your already low score down even further. It’s definitely worth it to look for and correct errors on your credit report.

The Most Common Credit Report Errors

When you think of errors that might be found on your credit report you might think of things like someone stealing your identity and using it to open and charge up credit cards or take out loans. While those things do happen, most errors are not a result of criminal activity.

Often they’re just the result as something as mundane as a small clerical error, typing in the wrong middle initial for your name or transposed numbers in an account balance when entering information into a computer system.

These are the errors you should be on the lookout for.

Errors in Your Personal Information

  • A mistake in your name, phone number, or address
  • Accounts in a name similar to yours but belonging to someone else
  • Accounts opened under your identity as a result of identity theft

Errors in Reporting of Account Status

  • Accounts that have been closed are listed as still open
  • You’re listed as the owner of an account when you’re just an authorized user
  • A healthy account is listed as having late payments or being delinquent
  • The dates an account was opened, of the last payment, or the first delinquency are incorrect
  • A debt is listed multiple times

Account Balance Errors

  • Accounts shown with the wrong current balance
  • Accounts shown with the wrong credit limit

Data Errors

  • Information that was corrected is showing up incorrect again
  • The same account shows up multiple times attached to different creditors

Getting Your Credit Reports

The first step in correcting errors on your credit report is to get ahold of your credit reports. There are three major credit reporting bureaus; TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. The good news is, there is a place you can go to get a free copy of all three.

The site annualcreditreport.com provides consumers with one free copy of each report every 12 months. You might see lots of other sites offering a free report but they’re often trying to sell you something, usually credit monitoring and in order to get your report, you’ll have to subscribe to their service.

Go to the site and get a copy of all three reports and comb through each one carefully. This can take some time and attention. You’ll need to match the dates and numbers of the things like your last payment and current account balance (and the other things listed in the Common Report Errors section) from your own records to the information on each report.

Keep a list of each error and print out any supporting documentation proving that the information on the report is in error.

Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report

You can dispute errors with the credit bureaus via mail or online. Online is more convenient and gives you an electronic trail of documentation. Below are the links to dispute with each bureau online.




Explain what information is incorrect and why and include attachments proving the information is in error. The FTC provides a sample letter you can use as a template. 

You should also contact the company that provided the information you’re disputing to the credit bureau. These might include credit card companies and banks. Provide them with the same information you provided to the credit bureaus.

Wait 30 to 45 Days

The credit bureaus usually have 30 days to investigate your claim after receiving it. They will check with the company that provided the information to verify your claim. The bureaus are to report their findings to you within five days of completing their investigation into your claims. If you’ve disputed information with a company, they also have 30 days to investigate your claims.

If they do not find their information is in error, it will remain as is on your credit report. A bureau or company can deem your claim to be frivolous. This typically occurs if you have provided incorrect or incomplete information when disputing an error so be sure to provide as much accurate information as you can. If you find additional information after a claim is dismissed or deemed frivolous, you can start the process again.

If after 45 days, you’ve not heard back, follow up.

Review the Results

The credit bureau will give you the results of the investigation and another free copy of your report if based on your dispute, there have been any updates to it. Make sure this information is correct. If it isn’t, you know the drill! 

Keep it Up

How often should you check your credit report? Once a year for each report and that goes for anyone, not just those who have filed for bankruptcy. But it’s especially important for bankruptcy filers because correcting errors on your credit report can help improve your credit score more quickly. 

The best strategy is not to get all three reports at once but to request one from a different bureau quarterly. That allows you to check your credit reports throughout the year. If you check all three in January for example and an error appears on a report in February, it will sit on that report impacting your credit score for 11 months. And it is important to check each report because they are rarely identical. 

Correcting errors on your credit report used to be a kind of ponderous endeavor when you had to do it via mail but now that the whole process can be handled online, it’s pretty quick and easy. And worth it! 


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