If you spot errors on your Experian credit report, you should file disputes. Otherwise, your credit scores will continue to suffer. Even worse, you could be denied credit cards, loans, or housing, just to name a few. And if you are offered credit, chances are you’ll have a higher interest rate.
Don’t know where to start? This guide will show you how to dispute errors on your Experian credit report.
What’s on Your Experian Credit Report
Understanding the contents of your personal credit report makes it easier to spot errors so you’ll know which items to dispute. Your Experian credit report contains:
- Personal information, including your name, date of birth, address Social Security number and employer data. This information is updated as you supply new information to lenders and creditors. However, it does not affect your credit scores.
- Account information, including the credit limit or total amount of the loan and the outstanding balance, and information about the account status. In this section, you will also find the initial date the account was opened.
- Credit inquiries (or credit screenings by others as a result of credit applications).
- Public records and collection accounts, along with tax liens, suits, bankruptcies, foreclosure, or wage garnishments.
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Reviewing Your Experian Credit Report
When reviewing your credit report, look for:
- Accounts that you have no knowledge of
- Incorrect account data, including names, numbers, loan, or credit limits
- Incorrect payment history
- Credit inquiries you have no knowledge of
- Dated collection and public record entries that are past the reporting timeline
How to Dispute Your Experian Credit Report
To resolve errors on your Experian credit report, you can dispute by mail, online, or phone. If possible, it’s best to file disputes by mail to have a paper trail and take advantage of all the consumer protections available to you.
You should also contact the creditor to notify them of the filing as they may be able to rectify the issue on their end.
Dispute by Mail
You can file a dispute by mail by writing a letter like the one found here. In your letter, be sure to include:
- Your current address
- Your date of birth
- Your Social Security number
- The name of the company that furnished the inaccurate information to Experian
- The account number of the item in question
- The reason you’re filing a dispute
Experian also requests that you include any addresses you’ve lived in the past two years, a copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, and a copy of a government-issued ID in your dispute package.
Experian Dispute Address
You can mail the dispute letter should be to:
Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Mail in copies of the credit report and any supporting documentation, but keep the originals for your records. You should send your letter and documents via certified mail with a return receipt requested.
You can file a dispute online with Experian by creating a profile. After creating your profile, you can begin the online dispute process by logging in to the dashboard and taking the following actions:
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Dispute Center”.
- Click the button that says, “File New Dispute”. A page containing your personal information, accounts and any public records will appear.
- Select “Dispute” next to the item in question.
- Choose the reason for your dispute from the dropdown menu, and select next to add a comment.
- Review your dispute and hit “Submit”.
Dispute by Phone
To dispute by phone, you’ll first need to request a copy of your credit report by completing this form. You can also call 866-200-6020.
When you have the credit report in hand, you can call the number listed on the report to submit your formal dispute. Once the call has ended, promptly submit a copy of your annotated credit report and supporting documentation to Experian for review using the instructions provided by the agent.
What to Expect After Your Dispute Is Filed
Experian has 30 days from the initial receipt of your dispute to reach out to the creditor, investigate the claim, and issue a response.
If the creditor, lender, or furnisher of the information is unable to refute or fails to respond, they must remove the information from your credit report. You should also receive a notice from Experian indicating the outcome and what information was removed.
But if they are able to refute your claim, your credit report will remain unchanged, and Experian will communicate additional information regarding the outcome in writing.
If you filed online, you can check the status of your Experian dispute or view the results at any time by visiting the online dispute center.
Disputing a Charge with Your Creditor
Sometimes you may also have better luck filing a dispute directly with your creditor, even if your Experian dispute was unsuccessful. The creditor is the one who actually reports your account information to the three major credit bureaus, so they can also remove negative information from your credit report. You can mail them a letter requesting deletion just as you would with Experian.
When does a credit dispute hurt your credit score?
A dispute doesn’t stay on your credit report as a lasting mark unless you request a dispute note after an unsuccessful attempt. However, even that doesn’t hurt your credit. The way you see a change in your credit score is after the dispute process, and in most cases, it will be a positive one.
For example, if you correct a large outstanding credit card balance listed on your credit report, you’ll see a jump in your credit scores because your credit utilization will be lower. The same holds true with inquiries and late payments. The increase may not be enormous depending on the type and number of entries you get removed, but each will contribute to better overall credit history.
Furthermore, be aware of the “XB” effect. XB is a credit report code used by credit bureaus to indicate that a particular account is currently being disputed. During this time, Experian doesn’t include that account as part of your credit score if it happens to be pulled.
So, you may end up seeing a significant jump in your credit score because that balance and any associated late payments aren’t contributing to your score at all. Once the dispute is over, the credit bureau will lift the code. The account is once again included and will also reflect any changes made as a result of the dispute.
You should make a conscious effort to review your credit data regularly. That way, you can spot inaccuracies and deal with them right away before the problem gets out of hand. Most importantly, you’ll preserve the credit you’ve worked so hard to earn.
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