Can I dispute my Equifax credit report?
Individual credit reports and credit scores are important in many different aspects. The reports can be used when you are looking for employment, a residential place and most importantly when you are applying for a loan or credit. Credit reports determine the rate of interest that you may be charged on a loan which means that it is important for you to know where to get your information, ensure that it is accurate and keep it safe. Equifax is one of the three major credit bureaus that focuses on collecting and maintaining consumer credit report information and come up with credit reports, which they sell to businesses. Other major credit reporting agencies are Experian and TransUnion. One advantage of checking your Equifax credit report is that you will know the positive and negative factors affecting your credit score and take the necessary measures before applying for a loan. Besides, Equifax customer service representatives can also advise you on how to improve your credit score and the process of filing a dispute in case of any incorrect information in your credit report.
How to access your Equifax credit report
Not all the lenders you work with will give your information to all the three major credit bureaus. So you should expect a slight difference in your credit report from each of the bureaus. Consumers have the right to get a copy of their free annual credit reports. If you are denied credit or insurance due to issues in your credit report, you have to be sent a letter that outlines reasons why your application was turned down, this is according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This letter, known as the adverse action letter, should also include details on how to get a free copy of your credit report used in coming up with the decision. After receiving the letter, you have 60 days to ask for your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies. If your Equifax credit report was used to make the decision, you can directly contact the company via phone or mail after which you will be mailed the report within 15 days after request.
What if the information is incorrect?
It is normal for credit reporting agencies to provide inaccurate information. In fact, 1 out of 5 consumers find mistakes in their credit reports. It is, however, important to note that credit reports are used to come up with consumer credit scores, which means that if your report is inaccurate, it will also have an impact on your credit score. Poor credit scores can lead to tough credit terms or worst still, you may be denied a loan or credit. Luckily, you are allowed to dispute something on your Equifax credit report. By doing so, the information will be revised and your credit history will be accurately reflected.
How to file a dispute with Equifax
Consumers can file a dispute with Equifax by phone, mail or online.
Filing a dispute via mail
One of the best ways to file a dispute is via mail since you can provide paper evidence and it also offers protection, which isn’t available when you file the dispute via phone. When filing the dispute, ensure to avail the following information;
- Report confirmation number
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- The name of the company that forwarded your credit information to Equifax
- Reason for filing the dispute
- The changes to be made on your personal information
Copies of the letter and supporting documents should also be included, but ensure to maintain the original files for future reference. The credit report dispute should be sent to Equifax P.O Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374-0256.
Filing a dispute online
It is actually easier to file a dispute online using the Equifax dispute portal. Here, you are able to access your credit report information and dispute any inaccurate detail. You should also upload supporting documents like canceled checks, credit card statements or proof of identity. If you file a dispute online, Equifax provides a confirmation code for future reference. Consumers can check their status by visiting the portal and you will be contacted once your report is updated.
Filing a dispute via phone
You can also speak directly to Equifax customer care representative by calling the Equifax dispute phone number, 1-866-349-5191 which operates from Mondays to Fridays. You can then explain any inaccurate information found in your credit report. Ensure that you have a pen and paper at hand to write down instructions on where the supporting documents should be sent.
What happens after filing a dispute?
Once you file a dispute, it takes 30 days for Equifax to investigate and respond on the matter. If whatever you are disputing is right, they will remove the information from your credit report. A written notice is also issued detailing the dispute outcome together with an updated free credit report. Negative entries in your credit report will also be removed if the creditor does not provide adequate proof or when they fail to respond to your claim. If the dispute is not ruled in your favor, you will still be issued with a written notice stating why your credit report won’t be updated. In this case, you can either decide to file another dispute or ignore it altogether.
How disputing affects your credit score
What consumers should know is that filing a dispute won’t harm your credit score in any way. But the outcome of the dispute is what matters. For instance, if a late payment entry was removed, you will notice an increase in your credit score. If negative information is added in your report after the dispute, your credit score will decrease. But there are also other changes like names or address that won’t have an impact on your score.
What other services does Equifax offer?
Besides providing credit reports and scores, there are also other Equifax products and services available. These include:
Equifax offers a wide variety of information concerning credit reports directly on their website. This information is in form of articles, videos, and reports on how to ensure your credit report is safe, the things to look for in your credit report and how to increase your credit score to qualify for more affordable loans.
Equifax fraud alert and active duty alert
If you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, you can also request for a fraud alert to be placed on your credit report. With this alert, lenders and creditors will be able to know that you are a victim of fraud. If Equifax places an active duty alert, lenders and creditors will be informed of your active duty military status and therefore, any attempt to create an account or request for a loan product may be fraudulent.
Due to increase in identity theft in the past years, Equifax started to provide protection services and advice for the benefit of the consumer. You can access this information can be accessed in the Equifax’s top identity theft articles.
Equifax credit freeze/lock and alert
The lock and alert freeze helps prevent unauthorized access to a consumer’s credit report. On the other hand, credit freeze fraud alerts prevent consumers from becoming victims of identity theft.
Business owners and consumers in the U.S have their credit information stored in the Equifax database. Credit reports are especially important when you want to apply for a loan or credit since they are the ones used to come up with your credit score. To ensure that this information is updated and correct, it is important to have a copy of your credit report, which is provided for free once every year. This will give you a clue on where you stand as far as your credit score is concerned and take the necessary measures to ensure that you are attractive to lenders in the future.