Disputing Credit Report Online: Is it a Good Idea?

Learn about disputing inaccuracies on your credit report online and how it could affect your credit score.

Disputing Credit Report Online: Is it a Good Idea?

If you're considering disputing your credit report online, it's important to understand the potential risks and rewards. Filing an online dispute with a credit agency may seem like a quick and easy way to get the results you want, but it may not work in your favor. On the other hand, telephone disputes do not offer consumers an opportunity to submit supporting documentation. In many cases, documents that prove your position can be useful to credit agencies as well as juries.

When it comes to disputing credit report inaccuracies, the fastest way to challenge inaccurate information is through Experian's Online Dispute Center. When you file your dispute, specify why the article is inaccurate and include any documentation you may have to support your dispute. You can send documents online or send them by mail. If you send your document by mail, send a copy and keep the original.

Filing a dispute has no effect on your credit, although the outcome of a dispute could. If, for example, you are able to challenge a late payment because you actually paid on time, removing that entry from your credit report will likely increase your credit rating. The personal information, such as the name or address, in your credit report will not affect your credit rating, but you can still choose to contact the creditors who declare the information to see if they can update it. By law, you are entitled to receive a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year.

One of the best ways to improve your credit scores is to review the information in your credit report. When you file a dispute, the credit reporting agency will contact the information provider (usually a lender, credit card company, or bank) to verify the information that you are contesting. Here are the steps you can take to ask credit bureaus to remove incorrect derogatory marks from your credit. Credit scores are based on information in your credit report and are not calculated by the same companies that maintain your reports. The credit agency involved must provide you with the results of the investigation in writing and also a free copy of your credit report if the dispute results in a change in that report.

However, keeping a regular check on your credit can help you avoid the hassles of a stalled or postponed credit application. Your credit report provides a picture of your credit history based on information provided by your lenders, creditors, and other sources. Once you identify an error in your credit reports, the Consumer Financial Protection Office recommends that you contact the credit bureaus that produced the reports with the error. You can try going directly to the provider and asking them to correct their reporting error before contacting the credit agency. By law, credit agencies and lenders and creditors who report information to them are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your credit report. For example, if your lender agrees to eliminate a late payment and you request an updated credit score after the change has been made, your credit rating may have increased as a result. Your credit scores can affect your life in many ways, even if you're not applying for a credit card, mortgage, or car loan.

But what if you think there's incorrect information in your credit report? What if the high balances are found in accounts that you believe were opened in a fraudulent manner, or if you are sure that the reported late payment was sent on time? You can challenge the information, but you may have to suspend the credit approval process.