In 2013, an FTC study found that 1 in 4 consumers discovered errors in their credit reports that might affect their credit scores. If you are among them, the first thing you should do is write a dispute letter to the credit reporting bureau. Here’s how, including samples you can tweak so you don’t have to start from scratch.
What to Include in Your Dispute Letter
- Current mailing address (as well as previous, if there less than 5 years)
- Social security number
- Name and address of credit reporting bureau
Why you are writing
- Statement that you are writing to make a formal complaint about one or more inaccuracies in your credit report
- Reference to credit reporting laws that prohibit the listing of inaccurate information
- Acknowledgment that this is a mistake, either on the part of the credit bureau or data furnisher (i.e., creditor)
- Specifics of the inaccuracy, including name of the creditor, account number, and nature of the dispute (e.g., ABC Creditor, account #123456789, This account is listed as being 30 days late, but I have never been late on this account)
- If applicable, reference to multiple inaccuracies (e.g., There are a number of inaccuracies on my credit report), followed by an itemized list of each one
- Proof of any consequences of the inaccurate information, like a letter denying you credit
- Proof that the information is inaccurate (e.g., cancelled checks or bank statements showing timely payments, correspondence verifying a paid off account)
- Proof of identity (e.g., copy of driver’s license, social security card, utility bill, etc)
Request that the information be deleted as soon as possible
Sample Letters to Go By
You don’t have to start from scratch. We have a couple of sample letters to which you can add your personalized information. Here’s one for a single inaccurate listing and another for multiple inaccuracies. Feel free to tweak them as necessary to reflect your unique situation.
How and Where to Mail Dispute Letter to Credit Bureau
While each of three major credit reporting bureaus has an online dispute system in place, we recommend going the old-school route and snail mailing your letters instead. Just be sure to do so via certified mail with return receipt requested.
Note, if an inaccurate listing appears on all three credit bureau reports (be sure you check them all), then you must send a letter of dispute to each of them. Here are the mailing addresses for the major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.