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Dispute Credit Report: Ways to Dispute Credit Errors

“Listing down ways to dispute a credit report and more. Read it now!”

Dispute Credit Report Errors

Credit reports have increasingly become consumers’ passport to the financial world. Whether you want to rent an apartment, get car insurance or apply for a credit card, the data in your credit report will be one of the crucial measures used to judge you.

That’s why you want to ensure that the information in your report — which is used to formulate your credit score — is free of any inaccuracies. Even if you’re not denied credit, a small error here or there can cost you more in interest.

The three big credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — and the entities that provide them with data (like lenders) are required to investigate any potential errors. But, as I reported in a recent story, their investigations aren’t very thorough.

So as with most everything else, you need to be your own advocate. Here are several tips on the right way to file a dispute, compiled from consumer attorneys, credit experts and consumer advocates.

Get your report. There’s only one place you should go to get a copy of your credit report: AnnualCreditReport.com. All consumers are entitled to one free credit from each of the three major credit bureaus through this site. (In fact, you can forgo the credit monitoring services many of them sell by creating your own: simply order a report from one of the agencies once every four months.)

Create a paper trail. The credit bureaus allow you to file your dispute online, and it’s probably the fastest and simplest way to go. But don’t. Experts say it’s better to send a written dispute via certified mail (return receipt requested).

Sending a written complaint may not help resolve your problem any more than filing an online dispute. But it will help later on, say, if your problem isn’t resolved or if you eventually need to show a record of your efforts in court.

Don’t be restricted by the dispute forms that the bureaus recommend you use. Experts recommend coloring outside of those lines. Attach a letter that explains the problem, and provide copies (not originals) of any supporting documentation, like a canceled check illustrating that you made a payment. The Federal Trade Commission has a sample dispute letter on its Web site.

The credit reporting bureaus are required to forward all relevant information to the organization that is the source of the error, though consumer advocates and lawyers told me this never happens. (In fact, the system the bureaus use to communicate with creditors doesn’t allow them to forward any attachments. Instead, workers boil down all the information you send into a one- to three-digit computer code — for instance “account not his/hers.” That’s what is forwarded to the creditor, who must then perform an investigation of its own.) More at How to Dispute Credit Report Errors

You can also check out this video for more on Dispute Credit Report:

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Credit Score Ranges: What’s a Bad Credit Score

“When we talk of credit score ranges, what comes to mind is a good credit score. But what is a bad credit score? Read below to find out!”

Different Credit Score Ranges

Most people have a gut feeling about their credit – it’s either great, good or bad. But what is a bad credit score really?

First, it’s important to understand that there are many different credit scoring models out there and each may use a different scale – or numbers – to convey information. For example, all FICO score range between 300 and 850 with 300 being the lowest (or worst) possible score, while 850 is the highest (or best) possible score.

The range for VantageScore credit scores has traditionally been between 501 and 990, with the higher number representing the strongest score. But the newer version, VantageScore 3.0, has a range of 300 to 850.

The companies that develop credit scores – FICO and VantageScore, for example – do not decide which credit scores are “good” or “bad.” Nor do the credit reporting agencies that supply the credit reports that are used to create credit scores. Instead, it’s up to individual lenders and insurance companies who use these scores to decide which scores demonstrate an acceptable level of risk.

They use them in a variety of ways, to:

1. Determine the interest rate they will charge for a loan, or in the case of an insurance company, the discount they may offer on an insurance policy.

2. Decide whether to extend credit, how much credit to approve, whether to increase (or lower) a customer’s credit limit, or even to close a risky account.

In a way, then, there is no such thing as a “bad credit score,” since the number itself doesn’t mean anything until a lender decides how to use it.

In other words, a credit score is only bad when it keeps you from whatever you are trying to accomplish, whether that is to refinance a loan, borrow at a low interest rate, or get the best deal on your auto insurance.

But in the real world, there are some assumptions that can be made about credit scores that fall into different ranges. More at What Is a Bad Credit Score?

You can also check out this video for more on Credit Score Ranges:

More Reading for Credit Score Ranges here:

Credit Report Dispute: Ways to Dispute Credit Report Errors

“Want to do a credit report dispute but not sure how? Let this article help. Check it out now!”

Ways to Do a Credit Report Dispute

In the early 70’s the Fair Credit Reporting Act (hereafter “FCRA”) was enacted as a way to set guidelines regarding credit reporting industry practices, procedures and consumer protections.

That Act has evolved over time, and thanks to multiple amendments the current version gives consumers a variety of options when it comes to challenging information on their credit reports.

Those options are:

1. The Most Common Method – Direct to Credit Bureau
By far the most common way consumers challenge information on their credit report is by filing a dispute directly with one or more of the national credit reporting agencies; Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

You can file a direct-to-bureau dispute via the credit bureaus’ websites, a letter or over the telephone.

When the credit bureaus receive your communication they are obligated by the FCRA to show the offensive item as being “in dispute.” They are also obligated to contact the furnishing party, normally a bank or collection agency, and verify the accuracy of the information in dispute.

This process cannot take longer than 30 to 45 days and if the mistake is on all three of your credit reports then you have to repeat this process–times three.

The form sent by the credit bureaus to banks and collection agencies is called an “ACDV”, or automated consumer dispute verification form. This form is normally sent electronically via a system called e-OSCAR.

2. The Not So Common Method – Direct to Furnisher
It’s not a huge secret but consumers are also allowed to file disputes directly with the party that furnished the allegedly incorrect information to the credit bureaus.

So, instead of trying to reach someone with the credit reporting agencies all you have to do is call your bank or the collection agency and let them know you are disputing the credit reporting of some item and you want it corrected.

When you file your dispute direct-to-furnisher, they are also obligated to communicate to the credit bureaus, all of them, that you are challenging the item and the alleged mistake is properly noted as being “in dispute.”

The furnisher also has the same obligation to perform an investigation. If they determine that the item is in fact incorrect, a correction must be sent to all three of the credit reporting agencies.

This process is called “carbon copy.”

The form sent by the banks and collection agencies to correct their credit reporting is called a “UDF”, or universal data form. This form is also normally sent electronically via the e-OSCAR system. More at 3 Ways to Dispute Credit Report Errors

You can also check out this video for more Credit Report Dispute tips:

More Reading for Credit Report Dispute here:

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