Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have a legal right to dispute and remove inaccurate information from your credit report. These inaccuracies come in three common forms:
- Wrong information – Untrue information such as accounts you did not open, judgments for lawsuits which didn’t involve you, or debts you did not incur can be permanently removed from your credit report.
- Duplicate information – Some accounts or transactions may be listed more than once in your credit report, and it’s helpful to ensure that your report is duplicate-free to avoid appearing to have more debt or credit-related problems than you do.
- Old and negative information – Most types of outdated negative credit information, such as foreclosures, judgments, liens, lawsuits, and bankruptcy, can be removed after about seven years.
If an investigation into inaccurate information on your credit report does not result in a change, you may write a letter to the creditor to explain the errors and why they must be corrected. You can also take this opportunity to provide supporting documents, such as statements which show a zero balance. In another course of action, you may write a 100-word (max.) “letter of explanation” to be added to your report.