It’s always worth checking your credit score especially if you’re about to apply for a mortgage or car loan.
Amazingly, mistakes do happen. When the Federal Trade Commission conducted a research study in 2012, they found that an incredible 26% of people had errors on their credit reports. If this happens to you though, don’t worry because it’s very easy to get them amended with a credit dispute letter.
Structuring your Credit Dispute Letter
There are three credit bureaus in the US: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Although each one has a slightly different online interface, you can approach your credit dispute letter in the same way for all three, as laid out below. If it all feels overwhelming, don’t forget that credit repair companies can do this for you instead.
- Include personal identification copies
- Identify the items you’re disputing
- State the facts and why they’re different
- Share any relevant documents
- Request for amendments
Your credit dispute letter should be clearly structured just like any formal letter. Therefore, make sure you list your name, address, social security, and date all at the top and on the left-hand side. It’s often a good idea to also include a copy of your passport or driver’s license. In fact, any official identification document is valid.
State the Facts
Then, keep your credit dispute letter factual and simply state what you’re disputing and why. You can even include a photocopy of your credit report with the highlighted items to make things easier. It’s also helpful to send copies of any documents that can help support your case. Perhaps a credit card statement or a receipt of payment, for example? Again though, don’t forget that credit repair companies can support you with this if you prefer and want to avoid getting lost in details.
Make your Request
The final point in your letter should be you stating that you would like the items to be deleted or amended, as required. Of course, keep everything polite and end the credit dispute letter with the formal ‘sincerely yours’, followed by your name.
The Credit Dispute Letter Process
The whole process is relatively simple and you can find it detailed on each of the credit bureaus’ websites. Having said that, if you’re facing large discrepancies that have led to collection agencies chasing you then you might benefit from working with a credit repair company. They’ll be able to help you focus on what to prioritize and how to manage the collection company. It’s worth remembering that each item on your credit report doesn’t have the same impact on your credit score. That’s why credit repair companies are often best placed to support you.
In the meantime though, here’s what you can expect from the overall process:
- Request your credit report from the bureaus
- Dispute your points online, by mail or telephone
- Allow for 30 days
- Follow up with any relevant lenders
Request your Credit Reports and Amendments
According to the Credit Repair Organizations Act, the credit bureaus have to provide you with a free credit report every 12 months. Of course, a credit repair company can also get it on your behalf. Either way, you would then go through all the details and work out what is potentially wrong. Don’t forget though that it’s illegal to question correct items so make sure you’ve checked your documents properly before sending your credit dispute letter.
Within 30 Days
You can dispute your points online through the official process detailed by each credit bureau. Having said that, it’s usually worth following up with a written credit dispute letter because this is a legal trace for you to refer back to, should anything go wrong. Regardless, the credit bureaus then have 30 days to get back to you.
Communicate with your Lenders
The first step the credit bureaus will do when they get your credit dispute letter is to follow up with your lenders and cross-check the information. It’s sometimes helpful to give your lenders a heads up so the process is faster and more efficient. No one wants a bad credit score to stick around for too long. You can, of course, do all this by yourself for free but sometimes we need the help of professionals. The best credit repair companies can also let you know which lenders need prioritizing and how to communicate with them. Overall, this gets the best chances on your side.
Final Recommendations for Writing a Credit Dispute Letter
Writing a credit dispute letter is a relatively easy process especially if you only have some small items to amend. Depending on the severity of your situation though, you might decide to work with a credit repair company. Of course, they charge a fee for something that you can do yourself. Nevertheless, don’t underestimate the advantage of having professionals by your side. They know how to prioritize your requests and structure them in the right legal language to put your case forward in the best possible light. You’ll then get peace of mind during some stressful times.