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Financial Literacy Month blog

We hope you enjoy reading some of our thoughts as we join you on the path to financial wellness and we encourage you to yours. If you would like to follow our path on a more micro-level, we will be using twitter to chronicle our days.

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You can and should dispute credit reporting errors

Posted by Kim McGrigg on 4/6/2008

My credit report looks pretty decent. My credit mix is not great (according to Fair Isaac, your credit mix accounts for 10% of your FICO score), but at least the information is accurate.

If you are not as lucky and find errors on your reports, you can and should take the time to have them corrected. To dispute information in your credit reports, you must file dispute forms with Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion directly. The bureaus must, at not cost to you, investigate the disputed information. The bureaus then will correct any mistakes or delete information that cannot be verified.

I wouldn’t bother to try and dispute derogatory, accurate items. Most likely, you will have to wait out the 7 year timeframe outlined by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (this jumps to 10 years for Chapter 7 bankruptcy).

If your negative information is the result of some kind of compelling story you are dying to tell, you do have an option to include with your credit report, a written statement of up to 100 words to explain. Before you do this, you should know that most lending decisions are made on your score, not your report. Also, there are some experts who believe that a statement can actually lower your score (kindof defeating the purpose).

One more thing: it is possible for positive or neutral information to stay on your report for longer than 7 years. Don’t dispute these items. The length of your credit history also plays a factor in your score—the longer, the better.




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