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To be successful in the miles & points hobby, there’s nothing as important as good credit.
That’s why it’s important to monitor your credit report for errors that could negatively impact your credit score. And correct the errors to make sure you have the best possible credit score!
I’ll show you how to dispute credit report errors, so you can continue to get Big Travel!
It’s Important to Fix Errors on Your Credit Report
It is extremely important to keep tabs on your credit. Especially in the miles & points hobby! If you have poor credit, banks will deny your application for new cards which means you’ll miss out on free travel!
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, financial institutions like banks and credit bureaus are responsible for providing correct information about financial records. And if you report any errors, these institutions must correct them. All you have to do is contact the credit bureau, point out the error to them, and show them why the information is incorrect.
Order Your Annual Credit Report for Free
You can view your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion by visiting one website. You can request reports from all 3 bureaus, or choose the ones you want.
Step 1. Click “Request Your Credit Reports”
Navigate to AnnualCreditReport.com and click on “Request your credit reports.”
Step 2. Input Your Personal Information
Help Annual Credit Report find your file by giving them your personal information, like name, Social Security Number, and addresses for the past 2 years.
Step 3. Choose the Credit Bureaus You Want to View
You can choose 1, 2, or all 3 credit bureaus to view. Keep in mind, pulling all 3 bureaus will mean you can’t pull any of them for free for another year.
Step 4. Examine Your Credit Report for Items You Want to Dispute
There are buttons at the top of the page to help you find the information you’re looking for. If you’re looking for items that can damage your credit score, click on “Potentially Negative Items.” Here you’ll find any negative information you’d like to dispute.
How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
Link: Experian Online Dispute
Link: Equifax Dispute Form
Link: Equifax Online Dispute
Link: TransUnion Dispute Form
If you’ve examined your credit report and would like to dispute an item, the process is simple. And all of the 3 major credit bureaus allow you to file disputes online.
But you can also file a dispute by mail. If you decide to mail your dispute with documentation, we recommend doing it by certified mail with a return receipt. You’ll still be able to retrieve the results of your dispute online.
Step 1. Fill Out a Dispute Form
Download a dispute form (or file it online) from the credit bureau that has the negative mark. Fill it out with the personal information it requests.
Step 2. Add Your Credit Report (With Notes!)
Print your credit report and draw attention to all the areas you’d like to dispute. Circle and highlight the negative items.
Note: Not all disputes can be filed online. For example, Experian wouldn’t let me dispute inquiries online.
Step 3. Find Documents That Support Your Dispute
If you want to fix your credit report, you’ll have to convince the credit bureaus your argument is valid! Find documents that support your claim and attach them to your credit report.
For example, if your credit report shows you’ve missed 2 payments on a credit card, print those statements showing your payment.
Step 4. Write a Letter Explaining Your Disputes
Write a letter identifying each item you’re disputing, and explaining why you feel it should be changed.
Here is a good sample dispute letter to help you get started. It should look something like this:
I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. I have circled the items I dispute on the attached copy of the report I received.
The following Citi credit card account is displaying inaccurate information. My file shows I have made 2 late payments, but I have never missed a payment. I am requesting that the item be removed to correct the information.
Enclosed are copies of my account statements on the corresponding dates to support my position. Please re-investigate these matters and correct the disputed items as soon as possible.
Enclosures: Account statements from May 2016 and July 2016
Remember to include your name, address, city, state, zip code, and the date.
Step 5. Send Your Letter by Certified Mail With a Return Receipt
Send your letter by certified mail with a return receipt request. That way you’ll know the credit bureau received your documents!
The credit bureau will then investigate your dispute, usually within 30 days.
Note: Make sure any documents you send the credit bureaus are not the only available copies! Send duplicates, and keep the original documents for yourself. You might need them later!
These steps should resolve any problems you have on your credit report. There are agencies available to help you, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which enforces federal consumer financial laws and helps protect you as a consumer. It tries to keep the financial institutions honest!
If you haven’t looked at your credit score in a while, it’s worth the time and effort! There could be errors on your credit report that are affecting your credit score. And you must have a good credit score to be successful in the miles & points hobby.
In order to submit a dispute, you’ll need to:
- Fill out a credit bureau dispute form
- Print your credit report and circle the errors
- Attach documents that support your dispute
- Write a letter to the credit bureau explaining the errors
- Send your documents by certified mail with a return receipt, so you know they received your letter
That’s it! The credit bureau will investigate your claim, usually within 30 days.
Have you had success removing errors from your credit report? Let us know in the comments!