Credit Yogi offers free help fixing your credit score. We provide a free 800 number available 24/7, free credit repair templates for Section 604 and 609, and consultations with experts. We have helped thousands of consumers since 1999, and our experts are available in more than 30,000 zip codes. You will also find an abundance of “How to” content on several financial topics including credit repair.
What Is the First Step in Fixing Your Credit Score?
The first step in fixing your credit score is getting a copy of your credit report. Once you have it, you need to monitor your credit for accuracy. Continuing the learning process will help you understand the importance of having a grip on your credit health. Consistent monitoring allows you to see changes, and how they affect your score. The sooner you detect inaccurate information, the less chance it has to harm your credit.
Top Three Ways I Can Obtain a Copy of My Credit Report
There are three primary methods for obtaining a copy of your credit report.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the only authorized website for obtaining a free copy of your credit report is annualcreditreport.com. In addition, from 2020-2026 consumers can receive six free credit reports per year by going to the Equifax website. This is in addition to the annual reports you receive on annualcreditreport.com.
To receive a copy of your credit report, you can call 877-322-8228. You may still need to provide documentation to support your dispute.
- You can request a copy by mail. The address is as follows:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
There is no need to contact each credit bureau individually. They provide the free annual credit reports to which you are entitled only through the Annual Credit Report website. You can order all three (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) individually or at the same time.
How Can I Assess and Report Any Disputes?
Your credit is the key to your financial future. Without a good credit history, you are unable to buy a house, car, furniture, rent an apartment or house, or obtain credit cards. In some cases, a questionable credit history may even affect your insurance premiums or prevent you from obtaining some jobs. However, it is also essential to learn to read and understand your credit report.
Why is it so important to know how to read and understand your credit report? Because that is the only way you will be able to identify errors. Lenders use your credit report to determine credit worthiness. Knowing how to understand your report will allow you to correct errors quickly.
How does the dispute process work?
The process is relatively simple. Here are the steps.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report and review it for accuracy. Do not stop if you find one error. Take the time to assess the magnitude of the inaccuracies.
- Investigate the inaccurate information. Credit reports contains a substantial amount of information. They also contain codes and language unique to the industry. This makes it easy for you to misinterpret a correct entry as inaccurate. Conduct more research and perhaps even contact the source of the information before you inadvertently make a wrong assessment.
- Choose the method of dispute you plan to use. The choices are online, telephone, or by mail. To file a mail or telephone dispute with the various reporting agencies, use the following:
- TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
- Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 74025
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion LLC
You can file a dispute online right from the bureau’s website or through annualcreditreport.com. You can also file a dispute with TransUnion from your credit report on WalletHub. WalletHub has a spot on your credit report that allows you to click “File a dispute with TransUnion.”Supporting documentation for the dispute. Once your dispute begins, the credit bureau contacts the data provider to verify the information you provided. They usually have 30-45 days to respond to these inquiries. The average is 14 days, according to Experian.
Filing a dispute by mail
To file a dispute through the mail, you must send a dispute letter and supporting documentation. Send the information to each bureau showing the error. Your letter must include these five things:
- Full name
- Current address
- Credit report confirmation number if you received the report through AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Account numbers or other identifying numbers relative to all accounts in dispute.
- Supporting documentation for the dispute.
When filing by mail, send the information by certified mail and request a return receipt. This proves the bureaus received your dispute.
Although you can file a dispute over the phone, you may still need to mail signed correspondence and documentation. You also want to call to make sure the bureau received your dispute regardless of how you submitted it.
- Once your dispute begins, the credit bureau contacts the data provider to verify the information you provided. They usually have 30-45 days to respond to these inquiries. The average is 14 days, according to Experian.
- Upon completion of the investigation, the bureau will contact you either by postal mail or email regarding the outcome. They will tell you what the bureau discovered and any action it took to resolve the dispute. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, all companies who have accessed your report within the past six months must be notified of any positive changes resulting from the dispute. If you request, they must also send an updated copy to any employer who viewed your file in the past two years.
- Make sure to confirm the errors are corrected on all three reports. Sometimes the records of the bureaus vary slightly. The information provider will only notify all three major bureaus if they find an error, and you filed a dispute directly with them. Otherwise, you must personally verify the corrections were implemented.If your dispute is not successful, you may opt to try again. It is unlikely to make any difference unless you provide stronger evidence to support your claim. You may also escalate your claim to the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the attorney general’s office in your state. For serious errors the credit bureau fails to resolve, consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases.
What Items on My Credit Report Should I Dispute?
You can dispute any of the following credit reporting errors:
- Inaccurate personal information such as a spelling variation, unknown address, or unfamiliar employer name. The last two items could be a sign of fraud. If so, it’s essential to block the information.
- Sometimes the appearance of duplicate accounts is an error. However, debt collectors may do this to trick a consumer into paying.
- What appears to be a fraudulent account may be an honest error. Unfortunately, it could also be fraud. Criminals often open financial accounts using the social security numbers of other people. You can dispute a fraudulent account, but the best thing to do is block it.
- Sometimes lenders mistakenly apply a payment to the wrong account. Your credit report then shows an erroneously missed payment. This inaccurate report can damage your credit.
How Do I Address the Disputed Items on My Credit Report?
Once you obtain a copy of your credit report and review it, you are ready to address the accuracy. You will need to know how to read and understand the codes and terminology in the report. When you find inaccurate information, address the issue with both the creditor and the credit reporting agency. Filing a formal dispute will ensure the credit agency addresses the issue with the creditor.
There is no need to hire a credit repair service to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report. There is a simple way to dispute inaccurate information. This does not require hiring a credit repair agency.
How Do I Report Inaccurate and Outdated Information on My Credit Report?
Credit-Yogi has several free templates available to help make the dispute process easier. The templates available for your use from our website include:
- Section 604 Dispute Letter
This letter is used when an item on your credit report is in dispute. This includes accounts that are not yours and other inaccurate information.
- Section 609 Dispute Letter
The Section 609 Dispute Letter is used when a consumer needs information regarding an account on their credit report. They are primarily seeking documentation such as a signed contract. The consumer is seeking proof the account is a valid account and not fraudulent.
Are you interested in learning more details about DIY credit repair? Download our free eBook to learn the hidden secrets of repairing your own credit.
How Do I Monitor My Credit Report for Discrepancies or Inaccuracies?
Monitoring your credit report is essential to ensuring its accuracy. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year from AnnualCreditReport.com. There are other instances where you may also be entitled to a free copy of your credit report such as:
- Your application for credit, insurance, or employment is denied because of your credit report.
- You are unemployed but plan to look for employment within the next 60 days.
- You are on public assistance.
- Your report contains inaccuracies because of fraud or identity theft.
Why Do I Have a Different Credit Score for Each Credit Bureau?
Aside from early detection of errors, you should monitor your credit report in all three major credit bureaus because scores from each may differ. This might happen for six reasons.
- Lenders may use different models.
There are two major models for scoring your credit—FICO or VantageScore. While both models evaluate the risk factors the same, they use individual formulas to evaluate the risk factors.
- The credit scoring version may differ.
Dozens of versions exist. They are one of two categories: base scores and industry-specific scores. FICO Score 8 and VantageScore 3.0 are examples of base scoring models. Lenders use these to assess your likelihood of repaying financial obligations. FICO Auto Score 9 is an industry-specific scoring model that shows lenders your odds of repaying an auto loan. Auto loan providers use this model.
- The information may vary among bureaus.
Since the score is calculated based on the data provided by lenders, it may differ based on the information available.
- Lenders are not obligated to report your accounts to the credit bureaus.
Most do report to all three bureaus, but the difference in information can reflect a different credit score. As a result, not all your credit accounts may show on all three bureau credit reports.
- Your credit score may differ based on the date you access it.
This may result from an outdated score on another credit bureau. It may happen when all your accounts have not been updated by the data provider.
- Errors on your credit report can result in different scores if the error doesn’t occur on all three credit bureau reports.
This is the best reason for you to dispute errors on your credit as soon as you notice them.
What Do I Do If a Disputed Item Shows Back Up on My Credit Report?
Sometimes a disputed item may reappear on your credit report. If this happens, the credit bureau will notify you of the reinsertion. If you believe the item should not be there, you have the right to dispute the information again. You can file the dispute either with the credit bureau or the credit issuer.
Remember, if an item is reinserted, the credit issuer and the reporting agency believe the information was correct. To improve your chance of success, provide additional documentation to support your claim. Without additional documentation, the credit bureau may see the claim as frivolous and stop investigating.
How Do I Get Free Expert Help Fixing My Credit Score?
Many online websites, including Credit-Yogi, offer online consultations free of charge. The usual process is to fill out an online form and wait for someone to call you back. While you are waiting for the call, prepare a list of very specific questions to which you need answers.
Have specific questions ready. The consultants will only provide minimal bits of information for free. Their goal is to tease you into thinking you need to pay the fee for their services. Finding answers to specific questions may help you avoid the cost of hiring the company for further services.
Verify the Reputation of Any Credit Repair Company
Before you hire a credit repair company, verify its reputation. Illegal and unethical companies take advantage of those who need to fix their credit. Five of the most common red flags you need to look for are:
- Guaranteeing results.
It is illegal for credit repair companies to guarantee results. Some still do it. Some of their more common promises include:
- Promising improvement in your credit score.
- Guaranteeing results within a specific time.
- Ensuring all negative items will be removed, even accurate ones.
- Requesting payment before they perform any service.
- Some illegitimate companies may even refuse your request to cancel without paying a fee.
- Offering to create a new identity. They may promise you a new credit file with a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Credit Privacy
- Number (CPN) to use instead of your Social Security Number. Assuming a new identity is fraud.
- Failing to explain your legal rights. They may also do any of the following:
- Advise against contacting the credit bureaus directly.
- Fail to provide a copy of the contract for you to review before you sign
- Neglect to explain your option to repair your own credit without engaging the services of a credit repair company.
- Eliminate essential information from the contract that may include the commencement of services and the fee.
- Asking you to provide inaccurate information.
- This may be on a credit application, or they may tell you to falsely claim you are a victim of identity theft.
Credit Yogi’s Best Credit Repair Services
Credit Yogi offers an abundance of services for those interested in credit restoration. We have been helping thousands of consumers since 1999 without any obligation for you to hire our partners. Our financial experts have offices in more than 30,000 zip codes throughout the United States. All you need to do is fill out the contact form on the website, and someone will contact you as soon as the inquiry reaches an expert.
How Can You Give Away Credit Repair Advice for Free?
Credit Yogi’s goal is to help everyone who requests it. Not everyone is able to sort things out and they may need help. Others just don’t want to take the time required to repair their own credit. Some will take the free information and run with it. They have no problem doing the necessary work to resolve their credit issues.
Another group of consumers try to do it themselves and fail. It is important to know how to file a dispute correctly, or you will not obtain the results you desire. The credit bureau may even reject your dispute if you file the proper paperwork improperly.
Many people (about 10 percent) will not attempt to repair their own credit and will decide to hire an agency. If so, enjoy the information provided here and use any of the services you feel will be helpful. We continue providing the information free of charge because we know there will always be paying customers.
Whether you need help filing a dispute or need to hire a credit repair company, Credit Yogi is here to help. Our toll-free phone line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One of our partners will call you immediately once they receive your inquiry. Our experts operate in over 30,000 zip codes throughout the country.