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How can I Repair Errors on My Credit Report?

Correct ButtonIf you have filed for bankruptcy, it is important that you keep a careful watch on your credit report to make sure that discharged debts are accurately reflected so that you can begin to slowly rebuild your credit. You can check your credit report for accuracy by ordering your credit report from one of three consumer reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. While you generally have to pay to review your credit report, these agencies are required by law to provide you with one free credit report every twelve months. You can request your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Once you have received your credit report, reviewed it and found inaccuracies, it is important to find documentation that supports your claim of an error on your credit report. Once you have this documentation, make copies of the originals. Send these copies, along with a written statement of what information is wrong on your credit report to the consumer reporting agency. In your letter, be sure to clearly identify which items on your credit report are wrong and offer an explanation of why it is wrong. Your photocopied documents will serve as additional support to these claims.

When consumer reporting agencies receive your dispute letter, they are required to investigate your claim. This investigation begins with a notice to the organization that provided them with the inaccurate information and the process generally takes about 30 days. If it is determined that your claim of inaccuracy is in fact a valid claim, the consumer reporting agency must report the updated information to all three consumer reporting agencies so they can update your file. Upon changes to your credit report, the consumer reporting agency must provide you with a free copy of your credit report that reflects the changes that were made.

After you report the error to a consumer reporting agency, it is important to send the same information to the information provider. An information provider is an individual or organization that tells consumer reporting agencies about your credit. This may be a credit card company or a bank through which you have a loan, for example. If the information provided is found to be incorrect, the information provider may not report it again. Federal law holds both consumer reporting agencies and information providers responsible for correcting inaccurate information on your report.

It is very important that you check your credit report yearly, especially if you have filed bankruptcy, to make sure all the information contained in your file is accurate and complete. Checking your credit report also allows you to monitor your file for identity theft (see What is Identity Theft?). Making sure your credit report is up-to-date should make it much easier for you when the time comes for you to apply for credit after bankruptcy since you will know that your credit report is an accurate reflection of your credit history.