When it comes to credit report errors there’s bad news and good news. The bad news: errors can lower your credit score and impact your ability to open a new line of credit. The good news: you can dispute these errors and get them corrected. Here’s everything you need to know:

Types of errors 

It’s important to understand the different types of common errors that might appear on your credit report:

  • Identity errors include things like having incorrect contact information (phone number, name, address, etc), incorrect accounts because of identity theft, the incorrect reporting of account status, and the mixing of two consumers’ information within a single file (this is called a mixed file and typically occurs when someone has the same or similar name to you)
  • Account errors include things like closed accounts that are reported as open, accounts incorrectly reported as late, incorrect dates of payments, and having the same debt listed multiple times  
  • Data management errors include the reinsertion of incorrect information after it was corrected and accounts that appear multiple times with different creditors 
  • Balance errors include incorrect balances or incorrect credit limits

Monitor your report regularly 

Now that you know the types of errors that can show up on your credit report, you’ll want to monitor your report regularly for any mistakes. 

You can get a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies every year. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to request your copy. Additional reports can be requested for a fee. Brigit Plus members can sign up for Credit Builder and get monthly report updates.

How to dispute an error 

If you’ve found an error on your report, the first step is to contact the credit bureau that produced the report. You can file your dispute online via these links: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides sample letters and more information to help make filing a dispute easy. Learn more here.

Once you’ve filed your dispute, the credit bureau will conduct an investigation, contact the furnisher (the company that provided the incorrect information), and report the results to you. This can take 30-45 days. 

Keep an eye on your credit report for the changes to show up, which can take several months depending on the update cycle.