The economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people concerned about their finances.
That makes it more important than ever to keep an eye on your credit report, and report any errors you find to the three main credit reporting agencies.
Complaints about credit reporting agencies filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau soared from 2018 to 2019. The majority of complaints were centered on incorrect information on credit reports and problems related to ongoing investigations.
Last year, more than 154,000 complaints about credit reporting agencies were filed with the CFPB. They made up almost 45% of the total complaints filed with the bureau. In contrast, they comprised less than one-quarter of complaints in 2018.
Of the three credit reporting agencies â TransUnion, Experian and Equifax â TransUnion racked up the most complaints. Of those complaints about TransUnion, 24,800 were related to incorrect information on a credit report and 8,300 involved problems with the agencyâs investigation into an ongoing issue.
Almost 70% of the complaints about incorrect information involving TransUnion revolved around information belonging to someone else being included in the complainantâs credit report.
More than three-quarters of the complaints about ongoing investigations involved the agency failing to correct errors on reports.
Incorrect information on your credit report can reduce your credit score, which could result in you being charged higher interest rates on credit cards and loans. You could also be turned down if you apply for new credit.
See related: How to apply for a credit card and get approved
Request your credit report
If you want to check if your credit report is correct, you can request a copy from TransUnion, as well as from Equifax and Experian.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax will provide you with your credit report for free each week until April 20, 2021. You can request your reports through the site AnnualCreditReport.com. The credit reports donât include your credit score.
Normally, youâre allowed one free copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies every year under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Requesting a copy of your report will not impact your credit score.
The CFPB says common errors to look for in your credit report include:
- The wrong name, address or phone number on your report
- Accounts belonging to someone else, whose name is similar to yours
- Accounts opened under your name due to identity theft
- Accounts that have been closed but are listed as open
- Accounts incorrectly listed as late
- The same debt listed more than once
- Incorrect balances on accounts
- Incorrect information reappearing on the account after it was already corrected
How to file a dispute
If you spot a problem with your credit report from TransUnion, you can file a dispute online, at the companyâs website. There is no charge for disputing an item.
Youâll need to set up a free account with TransUnion and provide some basic information about yourself, such as date of birth and home address, so the company can verify your identity
On the website, you can dispute everything from the name and address that is listed on your credit report to information about your credit cards and mortgages to your bankruptcy records.
Your credit accounts include information on the date you opened the account, your current balance and payment status, and you can dispute any of the information listed there.
For disputes over your credit accounts or information found in public records, TransUnion requires you to provide a reason as to why you are disputing the information.
The credit agency suggests you include corroborating information, such as records from your lender. You can upload those to your dispute.
You can add a consumer statement to explain any negative items that appear on your credit report.
If you donât have easy access to a computer, you can also mail a dispute to:
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
Or, you can call 833-395-6941 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
See related: How to dispute an error in your Experian credit report
What to expect
TransUnion says most disputes are investigated within two weeks, but some take up to 30 days.
The credit reporting agency says it may do everything from updating your credit report based on the information you provided, to asking the lender to review the information to determine if the information on your credit report is correct.
If a creditor doesnât respond within 30 days, TransUnion will delete the item from your credit report.
When the investigation is finished, TransUnion will send you an email and you can log in to its site to see the results.
If you donât agree with the results, the company recommends you contact your lender directly with more information about your claim. If the lender agrees that your information is correct, it is required to contact TransUnion and tell it to update or delete the information that is in dispute.
Itâs important to have errors removed from your credit report, which might help raise your credit score and entitle you to better interest rates.