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How to fix errors on your credit report

Credit reports are paramount in our financial lives because our society uses a lot of credit to begin with. So you spot an error, act quickly.

Your credit report is a snapshot of how you use credit and what your risk is to potential lenders. Even those we don't think of as lenders, such as landlords, use them to determine whether to work with us.

A customer pays with a credit card at a Franprix store, the convenience store chain which is part of retailer Casino, after it was upgraded to their new "Mandarine" concept in Paris, France, April 11, 2016.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
A customer pays with a credit card at a convenience store chain in Paris, France, in 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

Fix errors

Credit reports are not always perfect.

Accounts that you paid off may still be reported as delinquent. There may even be accounts listed that are not yours (and this can be a sign of identity theft). The point is to make sure that everything on your report is accurate. Get your credit report once a year and check for errors.

Errors can include incorrect contact information about you, closed accounts that are listed as open, late payments that you paid on time, improperly classified bankruptcies, and accounts you closed that do not say "closed by consumer" on them.

How to file disputes

Credit bureaus provide special "disputed items" forms that you can fill out when you have something to dispute. Fill them out by noting everything that is incorrect or not up to date. Provide explanations where necessary.

After you fill them out and send them in, the bureaus have 30 days to investigate them. If your disputes have merit, the bureaus must remove or modify the incorrect information.

Dive deeper: How to fix bad credit: Everything you need to know

This content was created in partnership with the Financial Fitness Group, a leading e-learning provider of FINRA compliant financial wellness solutions that help improve financial literacy.

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