Negative items on your credit report can have a big impact –– both on your ability to be approved for new credit and the rates and terms you can qualify for. Sometimes, however, those negative marks simply aren’t accurate. Each of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs) –– TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian –– may have different information, so you should monitor each report and correct any errors with the right CRA. We’ve outlined how to initiate a dispute with TransUnion and Equifax, now let’s take a look at how to start an Experian dispute.
A Few Basic Facts
Experian has its corporate headquarters abroad in Dublin, Ireland, and manages the financial data for over 300 million people in 80 countries worldwide. Just like TransUnion and Equifax, Experian has streamlined the dispute resolution process and broadened the way in which disputes can be made. But first things first –– it’s up to you to spot any errors by keeping a close eye on your credit report.
Remember: Since each of your three credit reports can contain different information (not all creditors report information to all three CRAs), you will need to keep an eye on all three. Luckily, between now and April 2021, you can check all of your credit reports weekly for free. [Learn more here.]
Once you have your Experian credit report in hand, here are a few things to look at:
- Personal information: Check basic information like the spelling of your name and your Social Security number.
- Account information: Make sure every account listed –– both open and closed –– are ones you opened.
- Payment history: Take a look at how your payments are being reported and confirm those listed as “late” are accurate.
- Credit Inquiries: Confirm any credit inquiries listed were initiated by you.
- Notes: Check that any notes (otherwise known as consumer statements) were added by you.
[Get additional information about how to read your credit report here.]
You’ve Spotted an Error: Now What?
There are several ways to get started on your Experian dispute.
According to Experian, the easiest way to start and track a dispute is through their online portal. From here you can view your credit report, select the item you wish to dispute, and provide an explanation of why you believe the information is inaccurate or incomplete. You can also scan and upload supporting documentation to your dispute dashboard.
Here are a few documents Experian suggests including (depending on the nature of your specific dispute):
- Cancelled check
- Letter from your creditor
- Billing statement
- Court or county recorder document
- Bankruptcy dismissal or discharge papers
- Letter from the IRS
You can also submit a dispute by mail. Print and fill out their dispute form, then compile copies of any supporting documents you need to support your dispute. (Experian will not return original documents once a dispute has been resolved.)
Send everything to:
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Experian does not supply a number to start a dispute by phone. They do, however, provide a number to request a credit report: 866-200-6020. Once you have your report, you can use the phone number listed on the report to start your dispute.
The Bottom Line
If left unresolved, credit report errors could be costly. Whether you know you’ll be in the market for new credit soon, or you simply want to be prepared for when you are, keeping a close eye on your credit report is important.
- Request your free credit report from each of the three CRAs regularly at AnnualCreditReport.com. (Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three CRAs. But remember, you can get each of them for free weekly until April 2021.)
- Enlist Upturn to help you monitor your TransUnion credit report and initiate any disputes for you –– all for free. Sign up here.
A drop in your credit score can be a good indication it’s time to check your credit report. Find out other ways you can check your credit scores for free.
[Take control of your finances. Get all the facts about credit scores and credit reports.]