What is a credit dispute letter?
A credit dispute letter is a written communication that consumers can send to credit reporting agencies (CRAs) or creditors to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information on their credit reports. Credit reports are maintained by CRAs like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, and they play a crucial role in determining a person's creditworthiness. Inaccurate information on a credit report can negatively impact a person's ability to obtain credit, loans, or favorable interest rates.
Here are the key steps and components of a credit dispute letter:
1. Identify Inaccuracies: Review your credit report from all three major CRAs to identify any discrepancies, errors, or inaccuracies in the information reported. This may include incorrect personal information, accounts you don't recognize, late payments that were made on time, accounts that have been closed but are reported as open, etc.
2. Gather Documentation: Collect any supporting documentation that proves the inaccuracies you're disputing. This can include copies of canceled checks, payment records, account statements, or any other relevant information.
3. Write the Dispute Letter: Compose a formal dispute letter to the CRA(s) or creditor(s) responsible for the inaccurate information. In the letter, include the following elements:
- Your name and contact information.
- A clear statement that you are disputing specific information on your credit report.
- Identify the inaccuracies, providing specific details about each item.
- Explain why you believe the information is inaccurate, and provide any supporting evidence you have.
- Request that the inaccurate information be investigated and corrected or removed.
- Include a request for a copy of your updated credit report after the dispute is resolved.
4. Mail the Letter:Send the dispute letter via certified mail with a return receipt requested. This provides proof of when the CRA or creditor received your dispute.
5. Follow Up: Keep copies of all correspondence and documentation related to your dispute. Credit reporting agencies are required to investigate disputes within 30 days, and they must inform you of the results of their investigation.
6. Review the Response: After the investigation, the CRA will send you a response outlining their findings. If the disputed information is corrected or removed, they will provide you with an updated credit report. If the dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can consider escalating the matter or seeking legal advice.
It's essential to be persistent and patient when dealing with credit disputes, as the process can take some time. Regularly monitoring your credit reports and addressing inaccuracies promptly can help maintain a healthy credit history. Additionally, you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major CRAs every 12 months, which you can obtain from AnnualCreditReport.com to stay informed about your credit status.
Credit dispute letter sample (to remove inaccurate items from a credit report)
Here's a sample letter for removing items from your credit report:
[Date of letter]
[Your Full Legal Name]
[Your Residential Address, including City, State, Zip Code]
[Credit Bureau Name (Experian, Transunion or Equifax)]
[Street Address for the Credit Bureau]
[City, State, Zip Code]
Subject: Dispute & Remove Inaccurate Information in Credit Report
Hello there, I am writing to dispute the following inaccurate information in my file.
This item [for instance: auto loan at Auto Lender] is inaccurate [or incomplete] because [describe in detail what is inaccurate or incomplete and why. If available, include correspondence with the creditor]. I am requesting that this item be removed [or request another specific change to correct the information such as an adjustment].
[List and describe other inaccuracies you are disputing following the same format.]
I have enclosed the following documentation to support my dispute request: [describe the documents you’re sending, for instance: my credit report, with the disputed items circled, correspondences with the lender, statements, etc.]
Please investigate these inaccuracies and remove [or correct] the disputed item[s] as soon as possible.
Where should I print and mail credit dispute letters to?
You can dispute inaccuracies on your Equifax credit report by writing to Equifax at the following address:
Equifax Information Services, LLC
PO BOX 740256,
Atlanta GA 30374-0241
You can dispute inaccuracies on your Experian credit report by writing to Experian at the following address:
PO BOX 9701,
Allen TX 75013-9701
You can dispute inaccuracies on your Transunion credit report by writing to Transunion at the following address:
PO BOX 2000,
Chester PA 19016-2000
Can I dispute a credit report online or by phone?
Disputing online or by phone with Equifax
You can file a dispute with Equifax by phone at: 1-888-Equifax (1-888-378-4329) between
9:00 am to 9:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (ET), Saturday and Sunday.
You can file a dispute with Equifax online at https://my.equifax.com/consumer-registration/UCSC/index.html
More information on disputing credit reports with Equifax is available here: https://www.equifax.com/personal/help/mail-in-credit-report-dispute/
Disputing online or by phone with Experian
You can file a dispute with Experian using the number displayed on your Experian credit report. If you'd like to have a copy of your credit report delivered to you by mail, call 866-200-6020.
You can file a dispute with Experian online at https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html
More information disputing credit reports with Experian is available here: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/faqs/how-to-dispute-credit-report-information
For step by step instructions for disputing by mail with Experian, go here: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/faqs/instructions-for-disputing-by-mail/
You can also scan the completed form and submit it electronically to Experian.com/upload.
Disputing online or by phone with Transunion
You can file a dispute with Transunion by phone at: 800-916-8800 between
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. Eastern Time and Saturday – Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern Time
You can file a dispute with Transunion online at https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit
More information on disputing credit reports with Transunion is available here: https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit
Which credit report inaccuracies should I dispute?
You should focus on inaccuracies that harm your credit scores, or indicate a case of identity theft. Some examples include:
- Wrong account status (for example, reporting that you missed a payment, when you did not)
- Anytime someone is incorrectly listed on a loan or credit card
- Inaccurate account numbers
- Accounts you didn't open, don't maintain, or that are closed.
- Incorrect addresses
- Any negative information older than 7 years (most negative marks on your credit should be deleted after seven years)
- False credit limits, or inaccurate loan balances
Can I dispute a credit report with Mailform?
Yes -Mailform (https://www.mailform.io) makes it easy and fast to dispute credit reports by mail. You can also send your credit dispute letter using USPS Certified Mail (although it is not required), which makes it easy to track and ensure that your credit dispute letter arrived.