WASHINGTON — One in four consumers found an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study released Monday.
Credit report tips
Some tips on how to dispute credit report mistakes and lessen the chance of unwarranted blemishes that stain your credit profile:GET CREDIT REPORTS: Get a copy from each of the big reporting firms — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax — and review them. Consumers are entitled to a free report every 12 months from each. Get copies at www.annualcreditreport.com.FILE A DISPUTE: If you believe there’s an error, submit disputes online at equifax.com; experian.com; or transunion.com. You may also submit the dispute by mail or phone. CONTACT LENDERS: Reach out to the lender on the account and ask that they update the credit bureaus.CONTACT THE CFPB: Try the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. File a complaint at www.consumerfinance.gov/Complaint or by phone at 1-855-411-2372. AVOID CREDIT REPAIR FIRMS: The FTC has warned consumers against firms that offer services claiming to improve a credit report for a fee. Such firms can’t do anything that you couldn’t do yourself.Source: AP
The Federal Trade Commission study also said that 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products.
The study looked at reports for 1,001 consumers issued by the three major agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The FTC hired researchers to help consumers identify potential errors.
The FTC says the findings underline the importance of consumers checking their credit reports.
The FTC study also found that 20 percent of consumers had an error that was corrected by a reporting agency after the consumer disputed it. About 10 percent of consumers had their credit score changed after a reporting agency corrected errors in their reports.
The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the credit reporting agencies and other data companies, said the FTC study showed that the proportion of credit reports with errors that could increase the rates consumers would pay was small.
The study confirmed “that credit reports are highly accurate, and play a critical role in facilitating access to fair and affordable consumer credit,” the association said in a statement.