Through April 20, 2021, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.
When you submit a dispute online, what happens?
When you dispute an account online through Experian, your dispute will be sent directly to the source of the information, which is most often your lender. Once your dispute is reviewed, the bureau is informed and your credit report may be updated.
How to Make an Online Dispute
If you find information in your Experian credit report that you feel is inaccurate, you can dispute that information either online, by phone or by mail. The fastest way to dispute inaccurate information is through Experian's online Dispute Center. When you enter your dispute, be specific about why the item is inaccurate and include any documentation you may have that supports your dispute. You can submit documents online or send them by mail. If mailing your document, please send a copy and keep the original.
When you begin the dispute process online, an Experian credit report will be provided if you don't already have a current one. If you do have a current copy of your personal report from Experian, not from a lender or other third party, you can simply enter the report number.
While reviewing your report information online, you will be able to select the accounts you want to dispute, explain your reason for disputing the item, and upload any relevant documentation.
Once submitted, all of the materials you provide will be sent to the source of the information. By automating the system, the dispute process is faster and more secure, and the information is verified the same way it would be if you spoke to a person who took your dispute.
While the act of disputing an item does not impact your credit score, the outcome of your dispute may have some impact. For example, if your lender agrees to remove a late payment and you request an updated credit score once the change has been made, you may find that your credit score has increased as a result. On the other hand, if a consumer disputes an account in good standing and the dispute results in that account being removed from the report, it could result in a dip in scores.
How to Track Your Dispute
Once you submit your disputes, you will be provided confirmation that they have been entered, and you should retain documentation in case it is needed in the future. Experian will also notify you by email if there is an update and when the results of your dispute are ready to be viewed. You can also access this information in the Alerts section of the online Dispute Center. In most cases, the outcome of your dispute will fall into one of several categories:
- Added: This item was added to your credit report.
- Updated: This can mean several different things, such as:
- The information you disputed has been updated.
- The information you disputed might have been verified as accurate, but information unrelated to your dispute has been updated.
- Address updated: May appear to you as "deleted" if a previous address is updated to your current address.
- Deleted: The item was removed from your credit report.
- Processed: The 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 was not changed.
While you will often have the results of your dispute much sooner, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that Experian allow 30 days for the dispute process to be completed.
What to Do if You Disagree with the Dispute Outcome
If you disagree with the results of the dispute, there are a couple of steps you can take:
- Contact the lender or business that is reporting the information to see if you can resolve the issue or come to an agreement.
- If you have documentation to back up your claim that you have not yet sent to Experian, you can upload or mail a copy of that documentation to the bureau. You may also wish to send copies of that documentation to your lender.
- Add a statement of explanation, sometimes called a statement of dispute. You can ask Experian to add a statement to your account explaining the circumstances. For example, if you have a delinquency that was the result of a billing dispute, you can request to have that notated on your credit report.
How Often Should I Check My Credit Report?
Experts recommend checking your credit report at least once a year, but checking it even more often can help you stay on top of your debt situation and also alert you to potential fraud sooner. You can get your free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also check your Experian credit report for free anytime.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist