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How To Win Your Credit Bureau Disputes
Everyone is probably aware that the big three nationwide credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) maintain credit reports on you and everyone else. That means they are responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date data on hundreds of millions of people. Think about that for a minute Ė if each person had just ten credit references sources reporting about them (and some will have many more than that), these institutions are responsible for maintaining records easily numbering into the BILLIONS of data records.
As far as credit information about you, some of them have more, some have less, and this is because any particular lender or credit reference probably only reports to one of them, maybe two of them. Very few lenders outside of lenders for big-ticket items such as a home mortgage will report to all three of them. But it is for this very reason that you need to get a copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus on a regular basis (multiple times annually), because the data on the report from each one will probably vary significantly.
The reason for outlining the information above is to allow you to see the logical conclusion that we are coming to. Since the credit bureaus maintain such a tremendous volume of data, errors are inevitable. Errors are almost guaranteed. And study after study has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that while it is unfortunate, a MAJORITY of consumers have at least one error or inaccuracy on their credit report. But the fact that makes this even worse is that these errors do not get corrected or fixed automatically. Rather, the erroneous data is carried forward in your credit report, month after month and year after year.
This begs the question of how and when does this wrong information get corrected. The answer is that it does not get corrected, not unless YOU initiate the dispute with the credit bureau and insist that it get corrected. Although most consumers donít realize this, the ball is totally and squarely in YOUR court to take action to get the information corrected that they maintain about YOU.
Letís take a very typical example. You get copies of your credit report from all three agencies and note that two of them are reporting a 90 day 0 past due balance with Sears. What? You paid off your Sears account on time and you know for a fact that it has a zero balance. You call Sears customer service and they verify that you have a zero balance. So what do you do? You file a dispute with the two credit bureaus that have reported this inaccurate information. The credit bureaus are then required by law to verify the REAL scoop about your Sears account and have the correct data shown. But again, this does not happen unless YOU initiate the dispute. There are no automatic mechanisms that will get this corrected for you over time.
There are many such errors, and it is up to YOU to file the dispute and get the information corrected. There is a wide variety of information you can get changed, all of which will raise your credit score because of how lenders perceive your value to them, which is all derived from information in your credit report. Raising your credit score is probably the single-most important thing you can do for your finances.
My web site contains information about when and how this happens, but most importantly, what you can do about it. You are strongly encouraged to take the time today to start getting that inaccurate information corrected before it causes you a lot of grief.
About the Author: Jon is a computer engineer who maintains web sites on a variety of topics based on his knowledge and experience. You can read more about Winning Your Credit Bureau Disputes at his web site at Raising Your Credit Score.