Errors in Your Credit Report: Now What?

Credit reports contain your personal financial information. Incorrect information can affect your ability to get a loan, rent housing, or get a job because businesses often make their decisions based on that data.

Keep your reports accurate:

* You are allowed one free report every 12 months from each credit bureau: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

* Check the basics first. Check variations in name, Social Security number, and address. Experian lists all variations reported to it to ensure the consumer has a full account of the identifying information reported and can act on it. Often, variations are simply the use of a nickname or a transposed address digit.

* Verify data. Some can get complicated. If a loan is sold, the lender listed may not be the original.

* Look for errors. Problems can be large or small. A study by the Policy and Economic Research Council, Durham, N.C., of more than 2,000 consumers found that only 0.93% of credit reports examined by consumers prompted a dispute that resulted in a credit score change of 25 points or more. It also found that only 0.50% of consumers had credit scores that moved to a higher “credit risk tier” upon dispute resolution.

When counselors at credit counseling agencies review reports with clients, they often find that the unfavorable information is valid. But when it is in error, it’s important to start the correction process right away.

* Dispute errors. Contact the company that has provided the incorrect information and the credit reporting agency in writing and keep copies. Work with both the source of the information and the credit reporting company to resolve the issue quickly.

For help understanding your credit score, talk to the professionals at Hopewell Federal Credit Union. They will be happy to explain the details.

Copyright 2011 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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