Before you go shopping for a home, the first thing you will want to do is review your credit profile. We offer our clients a free credit review with a tri-merge credit report from the three main credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, along with credit scores. Call us at (310) 937-4220 or visit us at www.1stlamortgage.com
Free annual credit reports
- Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. They also make it easy to accomplish many credit-related tasks right from your computer. You may request at: www.annualcreditreport.com
Your credit reports matter.
- Credit reports may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment requests, or even your job application.
- Reviewing credit reports helps you catch signs of identity theft early.
Review your credit report
What should I look for when I review my credit report?
- Make sure that you recognize the information on your credit report including your personally identifiable information, such as names, addresses, Social Security Number, accounts, and loans. Then check that the other information on your credit report is accurate and complete. If you find information that you believe does not belong to you or is not correct, contact the business that issued the account or the credit reporting company that issued the report.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website has additional information on what to look for when reviewing your credit report.
Filing a dispute
What should I do if I find information that is inaccurate on my credit report?
Federal law allows you to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report. There is no fee for filing a dispute. You may submit your dispute to the business that provided the information to the credit reporting company and/or to the credit reporting company that included the information on your credit report.
The Federal Trade Commission’s website has information about how to dispute errors on credit reports, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website provides additional guidance about disputing information on credit reports.
How does the dispute process work?
If you submit a dispute to a nationwide consumer credit reporting company, the company may make changes to your credit report based on the documents and information you provided. Otherwise, they will contact the business reporting the disputed information, supply them all relevant information and any documents you provide with your dispute, instruct them to investigate your dispute, and:
- Review all information you provided about your dispute
- Verify the accuracy of the information they are reporting to the credit reporting company
- Provide the credit reporting company with a response to your dispute, including any changes to the information reported
- Update their records and systems as necessary
- The credit reporting company will then notify you of the results of the investigation
If you submit a dispute with a business, they will conduct an investigation and will send you the results of the investigation directly. They will notify the credit reporting companies of any changes that need to be made to the information as a result of the investigation.
If a dispute results in a change to your credit report, you will have up to 12 months to order a second free report through AnnualCreditReport.com in order to review the changes.
How do I submit my dispute?
To submit a dispute to a credit reporting company, contact the credit reporting company that has the inaccurate information on your credit report. You may submit a dispute with each of the credit reporting companies over the internet or by mail.
- Equifax – www.equifax.com/CreditReportAssistance
- Experian – www.experian.com/acrdispute
- TransUnion – https://dispute.transunion.com
- P.O. Box 740256
- Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
- P.O. Box 9701
- Allen, TX 75013
- P.O. Box 2000
- Chester, PA 19016
You may also submit documents in support of your dispute. Documents may be uploaded for online disputes or submitted by mail. When mailing documents, please only submit copies of documents and not originals. Documents will not be returned to you following the investigation.
To submit a dispute with a business:
- Contact the business directly. The contact information for that business should be included in your credit report or monthly billing statement.
The Federal Trade Commission’s website has more information on correcting your credit report, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website also provides additional information on disputing information on your credit report as well.
What information do I need to provide when submitting a dispute?
Types of information you should be prepared with:
- Your full name, including middle initial and suffix, such as Jr., Sr., II, III
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
- Current address
- All addresses where you have lived during the past two years
Depending on how you submit your dispute (through the internet or by mail), you may also be asked to provide the following additional information:
- Email address
- A copy of a government-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license or state ID card
- A copy of a utility bill, bank, or insurance statement
You should list each item on your credit report that you believe is inaccurate, including the creditor name, the account number, and the specific reason you feel the information is incorrect.
You may also submit documents to support your dispute. Depending on the type of information disputed, the following documents may be helpful in resolving your dispute:
- Police reports or an FTC Identity Theft Report, showing that an account was the result of identity theft
- Bankruptcy schedules show that an account was included in or discharged in bankruptcy
- Letters from creditors showing how an account should be corrected
- Student loan disability letters showing that a student loan has been discharged due to disability
- Canceled checks showing that a collection account has been paid
- Court documents regarding public records
How long will it take to complete the investigation?
You will need to allow up to 30 to 45 days for the investigation of your dispute to be completed by the credit reporting companies.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has additional information regarding the length of a dispute investigation.
What steps can I take if I do not agree with the dispute investigation results?
If you still believe that the information on your credit report is not accurate following your review of the investigation results from the credit reporting company, you have several options:
- You may contact the creditor that reported the information to the credit reporting company and dispute it directly with them. If you wish to obtain documentation or written verification concerning your accounts, please contact your creditors directly.
- You may provide additional information or documents to the credit reporting company relating to your dispute.
- You may request a brief statement be added to your report. Your statement should be specific to your dispute of credit information.
- You may file a complaint about the credit reporting company, or the business reporting the item, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or your State’s Attorney General’s office.
Inaccuracies in reporting
How do credit report errors happen?
Credit report errors can happen when data entry errors are made by a creditor who supplies account information to a nationwide consumer credit reporting company. They can also happen when a person is a victim of identity theft or when people have common names, and similar Social Security Numbers, birth dates, or addresses.
How can I prevent errors on my credit report?
Monitoring your credit report regularly is the single best way to spot errors. You can review your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for free once every 12 months through this website and you can dispute any inaccuracies for free.
When applying for credit, always provide as much personal identification information as possible on the credit application. If you prefer to go by a nickname, be sure to stay consistent, but be aware that the more name variations in your credit report, the more likely errors can happen.
Make sure your creditors have current and complete address information for you.
Examine your bills carefully to make sure that the charges are yours and that balances are correctly shown.
Can companies that promise to clean up my credit report really do that?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) say that you should be wary of companies that claim they can repair your credit. These companies are commonly called credit clinics. They don’t do anything for you that you can’t do on your own for free.
What is a mixed file?
A mixed file is when the credit files of two or more people are unintentionally combined in a credit reporting company’s database. This can result in errors in name, phone, address, and/or credit information. It may happen to people who have common names or similar Social Security Numbers, birth dates, or addresses.
What can I do if I believe that I have a mixed file?
If you believe your information has been mixed with someone else’s, you should:
- Submit a dispute with all of the credit reporting companies that have incorrect information on your credit report
- Identify the information that doesn’t belong to you. This may include addresses, other identification information, and accounts
- Make sure your identification information is complete and includes:
- Your full name, including middle name and suffix, such as Jr., Sr., II, III
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
- Complete address, including apartment number if applicable
- If you think you know to who the incorrect information belongs, such as a relative, let the credit reporting companies know as that may help them resolve your dispute faster
- Check your credit report for inaccuracies at least annually