If you’re not in the habit of regularly checking your credit report, there’s good reason to start: According to an FTC study, one-in-four consumers spotted errors on their credit report that might affect their credit scores. With each of the three Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) –– Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion –– potentially reporting different information, it’s important to track each one, and dispute inaccurate information if you spot it. We’ve already covered how to initiate a TransUnion dispute, now let’s look at how to initiate an Equifax dispute.
A Few Basic Facts
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax has a footprint that extends to 24 countries around the world, and tracks the credit information for over 210 million consumers. Just like the other two CRAs, Equifax relies on information reported by creditors –– like credit card companies and mortgage lenders –– to populate credit reports and calculate credit scores for individual consumers. Sometimes the reported information may be inaccurate –– and that’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your credit report.
First things first: here’s how to get one free credit report weekly from each of the three CRAs.
Once you have your Equifax credit report, take a look at these items:
- Personal information: Check identifying information like your name, social security number, and addresses associated with your name.
- Account information: Make sure each account listed (open and closed) is one you recognize.
- Payment history: Confirm your creditors are accurately reporting on-time and late payments.
- Inquiries: Make sure any inquiries listed for new credit are ones you initiated.
- Notes: Read through any added notes and confirm their accuracy.
You’ve Spotted an Error: Now What?
There are several different options when it comes to initiating an Equifax dispute.
First, make sure you have collected relevant documents to support your dispute. Here are a few that Equifax suggests, but what you need will depend on the nature of the item you are contesting.
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Copy of a recent utility bill (for proof of residence)
- Current bank statements
- Proof that an account was the result of identity theft (police report, etc.)
- Letter from lender showing account information has been corrected
- Court documents
Once you’ve collected supporting documents, you can begin the dispute process by creating an account here and following the prompts. After filing, you should receive a 10-digit code to track the status of your dispute from your account dashboard. According to Equifax, most disputes are resolved within 30 days –– either by confirming the validity of the data or correcting it.
You can also mail your Equifax dispute, although it will likely take a bit more leg work. You’ll need to write a dispute letter (find out what to include here) and provide copies of documents relevant to your dispute. See what they suggest including here and mail everything to:
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
To initiate an Equifax dispute by phone, you can call 866-349-5191 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight ET.
Make sure you collect any relevant paperwork before calling so you can easily provide any information they request.
Stay on Top of Your Credit Report
Keeping an eye on your credit report might seem like a daunting task, but there are easy (and free!) ways to make it happen.
Not only does Upturn allow you to access your TransUnion credit score for free, it will walk you through the items on your credit report and allow you to initiate a TransUnion dispute directly from your dashboard. Learn more and sign up here to get started.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act you’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three CRAs. These can be requested online at AnnualCreditReport.com. However, due to the increased financial burden and potential for fraud due to COVID-19, you can request free weekly credit reports until April 2021.
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