If you’re trying to build your credit score, the responsible thing is to check your official credit report regularly. A mistake on your credit report can lead to bad credit, even if you’ve been a responsible spender.
Getting Your Credit Report
Typically three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) provide free, annual reports. However, due to the pandemic, you can access your credit report for free every week through April 2022. Many sites say they can provide your credit report for free, but many scams ask for your payment information and charge you after a trial period.
What Should You Look for in Your Credit Report?
First, check if all of your personal information is accurate and up-to-date. One common problem in credit reports occurs when someone accidentally creates aliases. For example, if you open a new account and use your middle initial on your application when you usually don’t – that would make an alias.
Digitally with the credit bureaus
The error could appear on only one bureaus’ report, or it could appear on all three. If it’s the latter, then you’ll have to start a separate dispute for each one. You’ll have to create individual online accounts with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to start a dispute.
Through regular mail
It’ll take a little longer to get your dispute submitted, but this method is just as effective as submitting it online. Credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to a dispute – or 45 if they need additional information. Certify your mail and keep track of your dispute to know if the bureau(s) you’re working with are responding on time.