Categories

Dispute

How to Dispute Credit Report Information

If you discover information on your credit report that shouldn't be there, you can request to have it removed in a process known as a dispute. To dispute credit report information, you'll need to contact the credit bureau in whose report you found the error.

It's important to check for accuracy in your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can do that by requesting a free credit report from each of the bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com once a year. Outdated or incorrect entries, such as a timely payment misreported as late or a collections account listed as open even though you've paid it off, can lower your credit scores. Correcting these issues can, in turn, improve your credit scores.

Credit report inaccuracies are not widespread, but when they occur, they are often the result of creditors' incomplete reporting of information to the credit bureaus. For that reason, if you see an inaccuracy on one credit report, such as an unreported paid collections account, there's good reason to suspect the error appears in your files at the other credit bureaus as well.

You should check all your credit reports for accuracy, and file disputes with each bureau separately to ensure the information is updated everywhere.

Ways to Dispute Information on Your Credit Report

TransUnion and Equifax have their own processes for disputing credit reports, but Experian provides three methods for submitting disputes:

  • Online: Get access to your Experian credit report and initiate a dispute at the Experian Dispute Center (more on that below). There is no cost to you for using this service.
  • By phone: To initiate a dispute by phone, you'll call the number displayed on your Experian credit report. If you'd like to have a copy of your credit report delivered to you by mail, call 866-200-6020.
  • By mail: You can dispute without a credit report by writing to Experian, P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013. (Printing out Dispute by Mail instructions can streamline the process; you can also scan the completed form and submit it electronically to Experian.com/upload).

Step-by-Step Guide for Disputing Online

The quickest and easiest way to dispute your Experian credit report is to check your credit report online and submit corrections through the online Dispute Center.

Your Experian credit report is divided into sections with the following headings: Personal Information, Accounts, Inquiries and, possibly, Public Records (not all credit reports contain public records entries). Information that could be hurting your credit may appear under an additional section with the heading Potentially Negative.

If you've found inaccurate information on your Experian credit report, these steps will help you complete your dispute online:

  1. Go to the Dispute Center for details on the dispute process. The Experian Dispute Center is your source for correcting credit report information that you consider incomplete or inaccurate. Once you've had a chance to read through the information there, click "Start a new dispute" to view your credit report and select an entry to dispute.
  2. Indicate the reason for each dispute. Select the reason for each dispute from the dropdown box. Some entries may ask you to type in explanatory information, and in certain cases, you will be directed to provide documentation to verify the correction.
  3. Review and submit the dispute. Double-check your dispute request, revise the details if you wish, and then click Submit. You'll see a confirmation page when the dispute is filed successfully, and an "Upload a document" link you can use to submit scanned pages to support your dispute.
  4. Let the dispute process play out. Experian will send you emails when your dispute has been opened, provide updates as appropriate during the process, and let you know when your dispute results are available. You can also view these notes in the Alerts section of the Dispute Center. Once completed, your dispute results will be available in the Completed section of the Dispute Center. Generally all disputes are resolved within 30 days.


When necessary, Experian will contact data furnishers (the original source of disputed information, such as a lender or other business) to verify the information you are disputing. Note that information verified as accurate cannot be removed from your credit report.

What Happens After You Submit Your Dispute?

After you've submitted a dispute, Experian goes to work to resolve the issue. The data furnisher (for example, your bank or a credit card issuer) will be asked to check their records. Then one of three things will happen:

  • Incorrect information will be corrected.
  • Information that cannot be verified will be updated or deleted.
  • Information verified as accurate will remain intact on your credit report.

How to Track Your Dispute Status

Once you've submitted your dispute, Experian will send you alerts via email whenever there is a status update. If you already have an account with Experian, you can also view your dispute alerts in the main Alerts section of your Experian account. Alerts you'll receive while Experian processes your dispute include:

  • Open: This indicates the dispute process has been initiated.
  • Update: Your dispute investigation has been completed and your credit report is being updated with the results.
  • Dispute results ready: Your credit report has been updated with the results of the dispute investigation.

Possible Dispute Outcomes

When the dispute process is complete, Experian will display the outcome in the Alerts section of your Experian account. Here are possible outcomes you may see and what they mean.

Disputes Related to Accounts or Public Records

  • Updated: This can mean a couple different things, such as:
    • The information you disputed has been updated.
    • The information you disputed might have been verified as accurate by the data furnisher, but other information on your account unrelated to your dispute has been updated.
  • Deleted: The disputed item was removed from your credit report.
  • Processed: The disputed item was updated or deleted from your credit report.
  • Remains: The company reporting the information has certified to Experian that the information is accurate, so the item has not changed.

Disputes Related to Your Personal Information or an Inquiry

  • Added: This item was added to your credit report.
  • Updated: The information you disputed has been updated on your credit report.
  • Address Updated: This may appear to you as Deleted, as your address is updated to the current address.
  • Deleted: The item was removed from your credit report.
  • Processed: The item was either updated or deleted.
  • Remains: The company reporting the information has certified to Experian that the information is accurate, so the item has not changed.

How Disputing Impacts Credit

Filing a dispute with one or all of the credit bureaus has no direct impact on your credit scores. But once the dispute process is completed, any changes to your credit reports could lead to changes in your credit scores.

Whether your score goes up, down or remains the same depends on what you're disputing and the outcome of the dispute. Removal of mistakenly reported negative information, such as late payments or unpaid collections accounts, could lead to credit score improvements. On the other hand, corrections to your personal information, while important to maintaining accurate credit tracking, have no impact on credit scores.

What to Do if You Disagree With the Outcome of Your Dispute

If you don't agree with the results of your dispute, here are some additional steps you can take:

  • Contact the information source(s). Your best next step is to contact the entity that originally provided the disputed information to Experian and offer proof their information is incorrect. The source may be the lender or financial institution that issued you a loan or credit, but it could also be a collection agency or government office. Contact information for each source appears on your credit report, and you can use it to reach out to them.
  • Add a statement of dispute to your credit report. A statement of dispute lets you explain why you believe the information in your credit report is incomplete or inaccurate. Your statement will appear on your Experian credit report whenever it's accessed or requested by a potential lender or creditor, so they may ask you for more details or documentation as part of their review or application process. To add a statement of dispute, go to the Dispute Center, choose the item in dispute, and select Add a Statement from the menu of dispute reasons.
  • Dispute again with relevant information. If you have additional relevant information to substantiate your claim, you can submit a new dispute. If you're filing the dispute online, follow the steps listed above for using the Dispute Center, and use the upload link to provide your supporting documentation.

A dispute with additional relevant information can also be submitted by mail to Experian at P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013.

Regularly checking your credit reports for accuracy and disputing any errors you discover can help ensure your activity is tracked correctly, and that you get the credit score you deserve based on your credit habits.

Resources