Maintaining or improving your credit score can be a tricky thing sometimes, especially when fraudulent entries occur on your credit report. Disputing items on your credit profile can seem like a daunting task. But, it is necessary in order to avoid hurting your credit. To dispute entries on your credit report, procedures for doing so may vary between each of the three credit reporting agencies (or credit bureaus): Experian, Equifax, or Transunion.

Entries you need to dispute may consistently appear on each report across all three agencies, or they may appear on only one or two. To dispute entries appearing on your Experian report, you should follow these steps: 

Choose the dispute format

There are three ways you can initiate a dispute with Experian. It can be done online, by phone, or by mail. 

Online Dispute Center

To initiate online, start by accessing Experian’s online dispute center. You can access this site on a computer or from a mobile device. In doing so, you’ll have access to your Experian credit report. Experian will walk you through an online form to complete with information, such as your first and last name, address, phone number, email address, social security number, and date of birth. 

This will register your account with Experian. An account with Experian will give you access to the dispute center, email notifications, a free credit report that refreshes every 30 days, credit monitoring alerts, and a dark web surveillance report.

Available Services

Once you’ve provided all of your initial information, you’ll be asked to select free membership which gives you access to all of the above-mentioned services, or a limited registration which gives you access to the dispute center and notifications only. Next, you’ll be asked to create a username, a password, and a four-digit pin, and agree to Experian’s terms of the user agreement, privacy policy, and ad targeting policy. 

You’ll be asked a series of questions based on your credit profile to authenticate your identity. You’ll be given five minutes to complete the questions. Once everything has been completed, Experian will send you directly to the dispute center where you can begin the dispute process. 

Locating The Dispute

Experian will ask you to locate the disputable item on the report, whether it be an account, incorrect personal information, or incomplete data records. After you’ve identified the problem, Experian will contact the company that furnished the initial information to Experian and ask them to match up your dispute with the records they have on file. 

Experian has thirty days to complete this step (unless you live in Maine, then it is 21 days). Once the results are in, Experian will notify you by email. Or, you can log on with your Experian account and check the status of your claim in the dispute center. 

Disputing By Phone Or Mail

You can dispute any entry by mail or phone as well, although online is the most efficient method. To dispute by phone, you can simply call 1-855-414-6048. A customer service representative will walk you through the process. To submit a dispute by mail, you can send the request P.O. Box 9701 Allen, TX 75013.

What Happens Next?

When Experian contacts the original agency, information is usually corrected, updated or deleted, or left unchanged. Any information an original creditor can verify accurately is left unchanged. Any information that cannot be verified by the original data submitter is either updated or deleted. Information that has been mistakenly entered by the original source will be corrected. 

When you file a dispute, you will experience no impact on your credit score by just the act of filing the dispute. If, however, there is a change in the information as a result of your dispute, your score may be affected in a positive or negative way. 

Experian provided a list of dispute results on their website and what each result means.

Disputes Related To Accounts Or Public Records

Updated: This can mean a couple of different things, such as:

  • The information you disputed has been updated, which may include an update to the disputed information.
  • The information you disputed might have been verified as accurate, but information unrelated to your dispute has been updated.

Deleted: The item was removed from your credit report.

Processed: The item was updated or deleted from your credit report.

Remains: The company reporting the information has certified to Experian that the information is accurate, so the item wasn’t changed.

Disputes Related To Your Personal Information Or An inquiry

Added: This item was added to your credit report.

Updated: The information you disputed has been updated on your credit report.

Address Updated: May appear to you as ‘deleted’ as your address is updated to the current address.

Deleted: The item was removed from your credit report.

Processed: The item was either updated or deleted.

Remains: The company reporting the information has certified to Experian that the information is accurate, so the item wasn’t changed.

Information is the most important when correcting your credit profile in any incorrect data that can hurt your credit ratings. These include mistakenly entered missed payments, bankruptcy-related accounts, negative public records, collection attempts, creditor-received deed, foreclosure records, government claims, negative settlements, repossessions, contract defaults, voluntary surrender of assets. 

Monitoring your credit is an important step in keeping tabs on mistakes or misentries that could hurt your credit rating. 

Directly Contacting Companies

An often quicker way of resolving disputes is by contacting the original company that submits the information to Experian in the first place. By contacting them directly, you may be able to resolve the problem efficiently and shorten the processing time so that the correction will appear on your credit report as soon as possible. 

Dispute Statements

Sometimes, an active dispute on file or a dispute statement will prevent lenders from granting you a loan. Every case is unique, however. A dispute statement, which is a statement indicating an account was previously disputed, can appear in some states on credit reports even when the information disputed was never changed.

If you are planning on opening a line of credit or applying for a major loan in the near future, it may be to your advantage to hold off on the dispute until after that process has completed. If you’re disputing fraudulent activity, however, you should act right away.

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