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What Can You Do If Your Credit Report Is Wrong?

Monday, August 2nd

What Can You Do if Your Credit Report is Wrong?

According to a recent report issued by the Federal Trade Commission, 26 percent of all Americans have "potentially material" errors on their credit reports. The findings are alarming when one considers the fact that nowadays, a credit report affects everything from securing a good job to a low interest rate on a car loan.

Credit reports are compiled by the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The three agencies use financial history on consumers to compile a report. The report contains every account ever held by the consumer, whether they paid on time or defaulted, as well as employment and residential histories.

The agencies then use the report to generate a credit score for each consumer. A credit score is a three-digit number that is generated using a mathematical algorithm which pulls data from a consumer's credit report. Credit scores range from 300 to 850 and are intended to predict the financial risk associated with granting credit to that particular consumer. Credit scores over 700 indicate the consumer is in good financial standing and a low-risk for failure to repay debt.

Consumers who generate scores in the 600-700 range generally have missed a few payments here or there, but are not consummate loan defaulters. While they are seen as a slightly higher risk category, they are not totally excluded by creditors. Individuals who have a score lower than 600 generally are considered high risk and may have difficulty securing loans and utility services.

Because a good credit report affects so many aspects of a person's life, it is best to check it regularly to ensure there are no mistakes which could affect your ability to secure loans and services.

The information revealed by the FTC's report is alarming in that 10 million Americans likely are paying more in interest on credit cards and loans due to faulty reporting. This is why it is vital that all consumers check their credit reports at least once a year.

So what do you do if you review your credit report and discover errors?

The first step to take is to file a formal dispute with the credit reporting agency which included the error on your report. Each agency provides information on how to dispute information at the time it issues a report to the consumer. Reports can be filed via regular U.S. Mail or through an online form on each of the credit reporting agencies' websites.

Once a dispute is filed, the credit reporting agency investigates by contacting the creditor which provided the information. The creditor then reviews their records to determine if they made a mistake in their original reporting to the credit reporting agency. Once their investigation is complete, they report their findings back to the credit reporting agency. The consumer then is notified if their dispute has been validated and resolved, or if the creditor has determined their original information is correct and refuses to alter it.

In the event a creditor refuses to change information which the consumer believes to be false, re-disputes can be filed; however, unless the consumer provides supporting information to validate their claim and prove the information was incorrect, the same outcome is likely. Truly disgruntled consumers who feel they aren't getting anywhere with a creditor or the credit reporting agencies have the option of filing a complaint under the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is administered by the FTC.

If all this sounds like a long and manual process, there are companies who will clear up your credit report for you. TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best credit repair services available today.

The Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies Compare Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies Compare Canadian Credit Monitoring Company Reviews What are the best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Company Reviews

Canadian Credit Monitoring Company FAQ

Credit monitoring can mean two things: getting your credit score and report, or tracking inquiries made on your credit report with the intention of spotting fraud or identity theft. When you see services offering "credit monitoring" , most free platforms in Canada only offer you access to your credit score/report, while paid providers include tracking of your credit report and insurance against identity theft.
In Canada, there are two bureaus responsible for reporting consumer credit: Equifax and TransUnion. Each bureau uses different methods of calculating your credit score; some lenders and creditors prefer one over the other.
It might, depending on which service you select. Some free credit monitoring platforms in Canada give you access to your credit score and history, but you're responsible for looking for errors and fixing any problems you find. Paid services almost always monitor your account for any suspicious activity, help you freeze your accounts, and often include restoration specialists to guide you through the process of recovering your identity. You may even have identity theft insurance included in your paid package.
Some credit monitoring services in Canada are absolutely free. Most paid credit monitoring services cost between $11 and $30 per month, depending on the level of service you select and how many people you're covering (an individual vs. a couple or household).
Not necessarily. Your bank probably gives you access to your credit score when you sign into your account, but not a copy of your credit report. Plus, your bank doesn't have access to your credit cards, loans, or other creditors' information; they won't be able to spot fraudulent activity on any accounts outside of their institution.
If you use your monitoring service well, yes. Even with a no-fee credit monitoring platform, you can keep an eye on your credit score and act quickly if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Also, almost every credit monitoring service includes ample financial education, to help you understand money even better and to make good decisions for a healthy credit report.
Contact the company that is reporting the inaccurate information. It could be a simple administrative mistake. However, if you suspect that it's fraud, you should contact Equifax and TransUnion to inform them and ask that a fraud alert be placed on your credit reports. You should also report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre, and contact any lenders or other organizations that might be affected by the breach.
It's worth considering. Identity thieves often target children's information, because they can often use it for many years before being caught. Some credit monitoring programs in Canada offer discounted pricing for family plans.
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