If you spot errors in your Experian credit report, you should file disputes. Otherwise, your credit scores will continue to suffer. Even worse, you could be denied for debt products, loans or housing, just to name a few. And if you are offered credit, chances are it will come at a more expensive rate.
Don’t know where to start? This guide will show you how to dispute errors on your Experian report:
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s in Your Experian Credit Report
- 2 How to Dispute Your Experian Credit Report
- 3 What to Expect After Your Dispute Is Filed
- 4 Disputing a Charge with Your Creditor
- 5 When does a credit dispute hurt your score?
- 6 Bottom Line
What’s in Your Experian Credit Report
Understanding the contents of your Experian credit report makes it easier to spot errors so you’ll know which items to dispute. Your Experian 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 score.
- 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 done by others as a result of credit applications).
- Public records and collection accounts, along with tax liens, suits, bankruptcies, foreclosure or wage garnishments.
What to Look for on 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
Errors on your Experian credit report can be resolved by filing a 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.
File a Dispute by Mail
- Your current address
- Your date of birth
- Your social security number
- The name of the company that furnished the information to Experian
- The account number of the item in question
- The reason why you’re filing a dispute
Experian also requests that you include any addressed 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.
The package should be mailed to:
Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Mail in copies of the report and any supporting documentation, but keep the originals for your records. The entire package should be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested.
File a Dispute Online
You can file a dispute online with Experian by creating a profile. Upon completion, login to the dashboard and take 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 drop down menu, and select next to add a comment.
- Review your dispute and hit “Submit”.
File a Dispute by Phone
To file a dispute by phone, you’ll first need to request a copy of your Experian credit report by completing this form. You can also call 866-200-6020.
When you have the report in hand, you can call the number listed on the report to submit your formal dispute. Once the call has ended, promptly submit follow a copy of your annotated 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 claim or fails to respond, the information will be removed from your report. Plus, you will 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 communication additional information regarding the outcome in writing.
If you filed online, you can check the status of your 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 credit bureau, so they also have the ability to get your negative information removed. You can mail them a letter requesting deletion just as you would with Experian.
When does a credit dispute hurt your score?
A dispute doesn’t stay on your credit report as any kind of lasting mark unless you request a dispute note after an unsuccessful attempt. Even that doesn’t hurt your credit score. The way you see a change in your credit score is after the dispute process, and in many cases, it will be a positive one.
For example, if you correct a large outstanding credit card balance that’s listed on your report, you’ll see a jump in your score 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 one will contribute to an overall better credit history.
Also be aware of the “XB” effect. XB is a code used on credit reports 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 large jump in your credit score because that balance and any associated late payments aren’t contributing to your credit score at all. Once the dispute is over, the code is lifted. The account is once again included in your credit score, but will also reflect any changes that were 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 that credit score you’ve worked so hard to earn.