With a lot of people facing financial uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic, now is the right time to get your personal finances in order — particularly, your credit report. Here are ways to dispute inaccurate or false information from your credit report.
▪ Dispute the information with the Credit Bureau. All three credit bureaus give you the option to initiate a dispute on their website or by email. Be sure to have the proper documentation of the information you are disputing. Then, the credit bureau will contact the source of the erroneous information and dispute it on your behalf.
▪ Initiate a dispute directly with the reporting business. This way usually involves credit card issuers and banks. When disputing a credit report entry, make sure that the correction is applied for all three credit bureaus. Keep in mind businesses are required to investigate and respond to credit disputes. Although it is always good to follow up with the reporting business.
▪ Hire a professional credit repair service. This is more of a personal decision depending on how urgent your need is to solve the dispute. Some companies may charge up to $100 a month and could help you with the following: cleaning up credit report errors, dispute inaccurate negative entries for you, and creditor negotiations. Before hiring a credit repair service, make sure you understand what they can and can’t do while also avoiding paying fees before any work gets done.
▪ Get Credit Counseling. If hiring a credit repair service is not an option, you could resort to contacting non-profit consumer credit counseling organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). It’s important to note that the NFCC can do similar work as do credit repair companies.
▪ Pay for Delete. If your account ends up in the hands of a collection agency, writing a pay-for-delete letter where you offer to pay your debt in exchange for deletion could be an option. Remember, creditors want as much of their money back as they can, so it could work in your favor to offer a settlement in exchange for removing the negative entry form your credit report. Although the latest credit scoring models aren’t taking paid collection accounts into consideration when calculating your score, you should evaluate this option before moving forward.
▪ Write a Goodwill letter. This could be a long shot but if you’ve proven to be a responsible borrower, you might be able to convince the credit to remove your mistake. Although it’s not guaranteed, be sure to assume responsibility and explain why you are disputing the mistake.
▪ Wait it out. Negative items can linger up to seven years on your report, but the impact lessens over time. It might not seem like a strategy but while you wait, you could work on building good credit payment practices that will benefit you in the long term.