The Internet gives you access to almost anything you want. The same is true when it comes to correcting a credit report error. You can dispute the error with each of the three credit agencies- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The Dispute Process
The dispute process varies slightly from credit agency to credit agency. It is possible, however, to start and carry out the dispute process to correct an error all online. Before you get started, have the credit report for each of the agencies in front of you so that you have access to the information requested on the online forms. It's also important to act quickly when additional documentation is requested from the credit reporting agency in order to help the investigation along swiftly.
Equifax breaks its online dispute process down into steps.
- Locate your credit report online: Once you click on the Get Started button on the Equifax website, you can locate your credit file and start the dispute process. Complete the personal information on the online form, such as your name, address and Social Security number. Then, verify Equifax has the correct credit file by answering the series of verification questions that pop up on the screen. Choose the credit error you want to dispute, such as account information or negative information.
- Choose account: Click on the account button on the screen. This pulls up the accounts as each is listed on your credit report.
- Start the dispute: Next to the account you wish to dispute, click on the Dispute Item link. Check the item or items that appear on the screen to explain your reason for the dispute. For example, in the case of a divorce, you may no longer be liable for the account, which is an option for dispute. There is also an explanation box where you can provide additional details on your reason for the dispute.
- Submit the dispute: Review your information and then submit the dispute. Equifax then starts to investigate your dispute. You are notified via email of the outcome of the dispute.
Experian breaks its dispute process down into four steps.
- Order or access your credit report: If you have your credit report in front of you, you can start the dispute process using your report number from the Experian website. If not, you can access your report online.
- Locate the inaccurate information: Click on the Dispute This Item button next to the item you wish to dispute.
- Choose the reason for the dispute: Choose the option that best describes the reason why the item is inaccurate. Include any notes that provide an additional explanation in the text box provided.
- Submit the dispute: Once you submit the dispute, the information is immediately sent to the creditor. When Experian reviews the response from the creditor and completes the investigation, the result of the investigation is sent to you via email.
TransUnion has a similar process for disputing information on your credit report.
- Start or access your account: Establish or log on to your online account with TransUnion.
- Dispute the item: Find the item you want to dispute and click on the dispute link next to it.
- Explain the dispute: Provide a reason as to why you are disputing the error.
- Submit the dispute: Await the decision. TransUnion will notify you to view your updated credit report at the conclusion of the investigation.
Credit Reporting Errors
Disputing a credit error online is the same as disputing it via postal mail, so there is no need to dispute it both ways. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the credit agency has 30 days from the date of your dispute to conduct an investigation and render a decision to you. The credit agency can request additional information from you during the investigation process.
Additional requests are conducted via email and provide a link and information on how to upload documents that support your dispute or prove your claim. Since each agency maintains its own data, you have to file a dispute with each agency where the inaccurate information appears on your credit report.