4 Common Errors on Your Credit Report and How to Fix Them
Mistakes happen — even when it comes to credit bureaus and your credit report. Learn how to fix credit report errors efficiently in this guide.
October 11, 2021
In the US, our credit scores are important. The information in our credit reports affects our ability to apply for a mortgage, loan and even getting a job or rent an apartment.
The credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) manage credit scores and detailed credit reports. Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made in the credit reporting process, resulting in our credit scores getting dinged through no fault of our own.
Some credit report errors are more common than others. Below, find some of the most common credit report errors, along with information on how to fix them.
Credit report errors
Errors on your credit reports happen when information is recorded incorrectly, either on the lender or the credit bureau. They are surprisingly common. Consumer Reports found that more than a third of participants in its 2021 study found mistakes in their reports.
An error on your credit report can negatively affect your credit score, and therefore your ability to get a loan and favorable interest rates.
Because they’re common, it’s important to check your credit report for any issues routinely. You can request a full credit report for free, once every 12 months, at AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you have noticed a mistake or a dip in your credit score, you may be wondering how to remove disputes from credit reports.
Common credit report errors
The most common credit report errors include:
Personal information errors
These errors include mistakes in:
Contact information, etc.
These errors can cause glitches and red flags when your credit is pulled and may affect your ability to get approved for a loan.
In some cases, personal information errors can also result in accounts owned by other people ending up on your credit report, which can affect your creditworthiness. Identity-related errors can also sometimes result from identity theft, in which accounts are unknowingly opened in your name.
Personal information errors are among the most common, with 29% of survey participants in the Consumer Reports study finding identity or personal information errors on their credit reports.
Account status errors
These errors include mistakes regarding the status of loans and other financial accounts. This could include:
Closed accounts that are marked as still open (or vice versa)
Accounts that are inaccurately reported as delinquent
The same account/debt listed more than once
Incorrect dates associated with payments or accounts
In some cases, these errors can also result in accounts where you’re reported as the account owner when you are just an authorized user. In any case, these errors can substantially affect your credit score.
These errors include accounts that are reported with an incorrect balance or with an incorrect credit limit. This can affect your credit utilization and debt to income ratio, impacting your ability to obtain a loan.
Data management errors
These errors include accounts listed multiple times (with separate creditors). This often happens when a debt is sent to collections, but the original debt is still listed at the primary lender, resulting in a double entry.
Separately, incorrect information that has been corrected previously can sometimes be relisted in the credit report, which is another type of data management error.
How to fix credit report errors
When you download a full credit report, it’ll include information on how to dispute any errors. Follow these instructions to dispute the incorrect information.
Generally, this process involves sending information to the credit bureau in question, along with proof that the information is incorrect or outdated.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has example letters of documents you may send to credit reporting companies as well as debt information furnishers. You can use these sample letters as templates to draft your dispute report.
In some cases, it may be necessary to contact a credit card issuer or loan originator (such as your bank) if the error appears to be on their end. Each financial institution will have a different process for handling these requests.
For more information, see our full guide on how to fix a credit report error.
Staying on top of your credit
Fixing errors on your credit report should help you improve your credit score. But because errors can be recorded at any time, you should make it a regular habit to monitor your credit. Remember, you can get a free credit report once every 12 months.
Eliminating errors is not the only way to improve your credit score. Paying off debt can dramatically improve your financial standing while also boosting your credit.
If you have credit card debt, you should consider exploring Tally†. Tally is a powerful personal finance app that helps Americans pay off their credit card debt faster, saving money along the way.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.