How To Make Sure Your Credit Score Is Accurate & How To Fix It If It Isn’t

Published on
August 25, 2022

An accurate credit score isn’t always guaranteed

In a perfect world, growing your credit score would be easy. You’d get a line of credit, use it to purchase goods or services you need, and then you’d pay off your debt over time. However, sometimes you might face a challenge that isn’t really uncommon: having an inaccurate credit score.

A recent lawsuit against Equifax showed that “coding issues” resulted in more than 300,000 Americans having their credit scores negatively impacted by about 25 points (for those who applied for loans between March 17 and April 6 of 2022).

This highlights a problem that some of us will face in the future, whether we are using our credit responsibly or not.

And what’s worrisome is that incidents like these have happened before! Just last year, more than 1/3 of Americans found errors in their credit reports (according to CNBC). Whether it be mistakes from Equifax or the other 2 credit bureaus in charge of tracking our credit reports, it is important that we stay on top of the ball and make sure we do regular checks to ensure our scores are always accurate.

What happens if you don’t check your credit score?

Having a bad credit score can make your life difficult. With a bad credit score, you will see higher interest rates whenever you apply for a loan, some banks may deny your applications for credit cards, and certain landlords will even deny you as a tenant! A bad credit score can also affect your car insurance rates, as it is a factor that most insurance carriers use to measure your potential risk as a customer.

Let’s not forget to mention that collections, late payments, and high utilization rates on your lines of credit can all contribute to a bad credit score. The last thing we should be worrying about on top of all these factors is whether or not our credit bureaus are accurately reporting our scores. Yet, at the end of the day we are ultimately responsible for making sure our scores reflect how we are actually using debt.

How to check if your credit score is incorrect

Although there is no specific method you can use to verify if something is incorrect on your credit report, there are few things you should keep in mind. In big incidents like the one that just recently happened with Equifax, your bank (or associated lenders) will contact you directly to help you with your case. The chances of you being affected by big incidents like these are higher if you’ve recently applied for a new line of credit.

Another thing you can do is make sure you’re on top of all of your transactions, especially those on your personal credit cards. Budgeting tools like Mint from Intuit can help you monitor your transactions over time and most banks provide online options to see your bank statements. Contact your bank immediately the moment you see any transactions that are unfamiliar.

Lastly, you can contact any of the 3 credit bureaus directly.

How to contact all 3 credit bureaus

You can use the contact information below* to contact any of the 3 credit bureaus to dispute a potential error on your report:

EQUIFAX

Their website: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-dispute

Their phone number: A phone number will be provided on your credit report or try (800) 864-2978

EXPERIAN

Their website: https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html

Their phone number: A phone number will be provided on your credit report or try (888) 397-3742

TRANSUNION

Their website: https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit

Their phone number: (800) 916-8800

*This information was last updated on August 2022.

Want to know what to say? Try this!

Contacting a credit bureau can be intimidating. You won’t have enough information to know with 100% certainty that there is an actual error on your report but, in the case that you want to dispute anything you can use the following script when calling any of the credit bureaus:

“I am promised accuracy on my report based on federal law. I am making this call as another attempt to have any errors corrected on my consumer report, based on 15 U.S. Code § 1681. All verified information shows inaccuracies in my report must be promptly removed. As you can see in your system that you did not verify this information, it should be removed.”

Shoutout to The Clever Credit Guy for sharing the script above via TikTok (we made some slight edits to it)!

And again, don’t forget to be persistent and try calling the credit bureau multiple times. There is no guarantee that they will update your record but, if you’re certain that you have any incorrect information on your report you have to try fixing it!

Always double check

You’re going to want to always double check your credit scores amongst all three bureaus on a regular basis (at least twice a year). Don’t just rely on the score you get from one specific company or tool.

Check Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian to see if there are any big differences that you want to dig into. If there is anything that seems suspicious or inaccurate, make sure you contact the credit bureaus to confirm.

Also, don’t forget that there are a ton of free tools out there that can give you alerts whenever your credit score changes (Credit Karma is a great example).

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