The Credit Bureaus and Your Rights: Do You Know Them?

by edralyn on March 16, 2013


The Credit Bureaus and Your Rights: Do You Know Them?

In today’s economy, everyone is looking for ways to save money. From shopping in bulk to cutting out the extra little expenses, every little bit counts. However, if you are looking for major ways to save money each month, your credit will play a large part. Those with excellent credit pay an average of 9.8% less in interest than those with bad credit. For large car loans and mortgages, that is a substantial discount. So what do you do if your credit score is low? What if there are things on your credit report that shouldn’t be there? How do you get started on repairing your credit? Understanding the credit bureaus and your rights is the first step to repairing it.

Getting Your Credit Report

There are commercials on every channel for a service that helps you monitor your credit. These services offer a free credit report to get you to sign up for their services. If you are planning on monitoring your credit as you repair it, these services may be a good option. You will be able to login and watch your progress. If you would rather go at it alone, you can also get a free report.

The three major credit bureaus include, Experion, Equifax, and TransUnion. These agencies offer a free credit report every year. You can request your report online on their site, or by calling. This is a good option for those who just want to see what is on their credit and spend the year cleaning it up.

Experian Score

Being Denied Credit

If you have applied for a loan or credit card and found a denial notice in your mail, you may want to know why. By law the credit bureaus must provide you with a free credit report within 60 days of credit denial. This is inclusive of your free report each year rather than an exception to the free report. After receiving the notice, contact the credit bureau used to run your credit report and request a copy within the 60 day deadline.

If you have already received a credit report and want to get another copy a few months later, don’t use this as a method of receiving an extra report. Each credit inquiry and denial affects your credit badly. It is better to either pay a credit monitoring service or wait until you are eligible for another free report.

Disputing Incorrect Information

As it is your credit on the line, you have the right to dispute any inaccurate information on your report. If you have received a report and noticed an account you never had, an account you paid off, or any other information damaging to your score that is inaccurate, you can print out and dispute it.

Once you have filed a dispute, the credit bureau has to respond in a timely manner. This is often 30-45 days from the time of the dispute. The credit bureau will contact the creditor to verify the information on your report. There are many instances where old accounts may be dropped off your credit if the creditor cannot prove the information is accurate or does not respond quickly enough.

Your credit is an important aspect to getting the best rates on loans and your overall financial future. If you are like millions out there who let their credit score fall, now is the time to raise your score. Look at your credit report, go through each negative account, and determine which accounts can be settled quickly to increase your score and decrease your expenses.

Lewis Layton is a financial blogger specializing in budgeting and planning. If you are interested in learning how to get a better rating, a service such as CreditFox may help.

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