How to Fix Your Credit Report and Raise Your Score

Errors on My Credit Report

A few months ago, I was checking out my credit scores to get an idea of where I stand. I had heard that there can be errors on it that can hurt your score and in in turn give you hugher interest rates for auto and home loans.

I noticed three glaring errors when I saw my credit reports:What's your FICO Score

  • My name was listed as my maiden name
  • I had a couple of addresses that I never lived in
  • I had a medical bill that was listed in collection, but was paid by my insurance years ago.

The first two were annoying, but the last mistake was dropping my credit score. Your bill payments make up an estimated 35% of your score.

How to Order Your Free Credit Reports

The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up one website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.

To order, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Free Credit Report.com isn’t free

FreeCreditReport.com isn’t a completely free service. You pay $14.95/month to monitor one of your three scores, Experian. I had it and it didn’t really help.

When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.95 plus applicable sales tax for each month that you continue your membership.

How to Dispute an Error

Call to verify what you need to send for your specific case. Too little and you have to repeat the process and too much information just makes me a bit nervous.

Credit Agency Contact Numbers

  • Equifax: (800) 685-1111
  • Experian: (888) 397-3742
  • TransUnion: (800) 888-4213

My Customer Service Rating

  • Equifax: It was easy to get a person available and got the information that I needed.
  • Experian: I can say that they are the hardest to reach. I was trying to get their fax number and their automated system does NOT give you the option of talking with a live person. I went online to hunt for the answer. Once I got someone, it went smoothly.
  • TransUnion: Even after digging online I couldn’t get a live person. I just find that annoying. I have to request my report by mail, as they can’t seem to verify me!

Mail over a letter to the agency stating what you are disputing and the paperwork you are including.

Some items you may need to include (depending on your error):

  • Copy of Driver’s License or State Identification
  • Copy of Social Security Card
  • Paperwork for the credit error (I had a copy of the insurance paperwork sent to me)

Send the letter through certified mail and send copies. DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS!

Credit Reporting Agencies’ Addresses:

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-0949

If you send by certified mail, try:

701 Experian Pkwy
Allen, TX 75013

Trans Union Corp.
760 W. Sproul Rd.
Springfield, PA 19064-0390


For some items, you can actually dispute them online. Equifax can do that with certain errors, such as a credit account or collection.

You should receive a letter in 6 weeks regarding the status of the dispute. EquixFax was able to handle my errors quickly. I’m still working on the other two agencies.

Your Thoughts

Have you’ve been through this? How have you fixed your credit report? If you know someone who needs to clean up their report, please share this post with them.

Photo Credit:  unk’s dump truck

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Responses to How to Fix Your Credit Report and Raise Your Score

  1. Once again, I am reminded of the reason why Green Panda Treehouse is my homepage. Thank you for this and all your helpful posts! – Ash

  2. This is a great list of resources. As a real estate investor, my credit report and score are absolutely critical to maintain. I’ve found errors from time to time, and the merchants have generally been very willing to correct the problem right away. That pesky federal statute may have encouraged them a little bit!

  3. @Ashleigh: Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. I visited your blog and I’m happy to see you’re saving money on your electric bill. It must be nice living in Florida right now. It’s in the 30s where I’m living.

    @Rob: I can understand why your credit report is important. It definitely helps consumers when they have rights backed by the government. The bureaus are required to be accurate and in many times, they fix it when you send the paperwork. It just stinks you have to gather the paperwork. I had to dig to find this bill from years ago. What if I threw it away after 5 years?

  4. Another way to fast track improving your credit score is to get in good with a real estate agent. There are two advantages to this: (1) If you are ever in the market for some property, you’ve already built a good relationship with an agent, and (2) that agent will link you up with some folks that benefit from you having a good score. Allot of financing agencies will carry the load when it comes to improving your credit score. Like calling debtors, and checking on payment. I worked with a guy that helped me put together my first budget.

    Caleb (Blueprint Economics)