Your credit report is an important document: It contains an in-depth record of how you’ve used credit in the past, and it can have a big impact on your life.
For example, when you apply for a loan, lenders usually check your credit report. That information contributes to their decision whether to lend to you, as well as what interest rate to charge.
You might also have your credit checked by potential employers or when you are applying to get a mobile phone, rent a home, or perhaps connect some utilities.
Since credit reports can be so critical to many aspects of your life, it’s quite important that they be accurate.
Unfortunately, these reports can have more errors than you may realize. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one in five people have an error on at least one of their credit reports. Even minor issues could impact your score and have a ripple effect on your financial life.
So, with that in mind, read on to learn how you can check your report and work to correct any errors you might find.
Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.
Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!
Getting a Credit Report
Like going in for a check-up once a year can benefit your physical health, regular credit report check-ups can benefit your financial health.
Everyone is entitled to see their credit reports for free once a year at the government-mandated
It’s a good idea to take full advantage of this service, and to look over your reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus annually.
Checking your credit report regularly can also make it easier to notice when the numbers look off or if something’s amiss. This could help you catch fraudulent activity.
Scanning a Credit Report
The best way to find an error in a credit report is to read through it thoroughly.
The CFPB recommends making sure that the following information is accurate:
• Social Security number
• Current address
• Current phone number
• Previous addresses
• Employment history (names, dates, locations)
• Current bank accounts open
• Bank account balances
• Joint accounts
• Accounts closed.
If any of the above is incorrect, the report has an error that you may want to dispute.
Common Credit Report Errors
While there are any number of errors that could crop up on a credit report, some are more likely than others. According to the CFPB, these are among the most common:
• Typos or wrong information. In the personal information section, names could be misspelled, or addresses could just be plain wrong.
• A similar name is assigned to your report. Instead of a typo, the credit report might be pulling in accounts and information of a person with a similar name to yours.
• Wrong accounts. If an account is in your name but unfamiliar to you, this could be proof of identity theft.
• Closed accounts are still open. You may have closed a savings account or credit card recently, but the report shows it as still open.
• Being labeled “owner” instead of a user on a joint account. If you’re simply an authorized user on a joint account or credit card, your credit report should reflect that.
• False late payment. A credit report might show a late or delinquent payment when the account was paid on time.
• Duplicate debts or accounts. Listing an account twice could make it look like more debt is owed, resulting in an incorrect credit report.
• Incorrect balances. Account balances might show incorrect amounts.
• Wrong credit limits. Misreported limits on credit card accounts can impact a credit score, even if they’re only off by a few hundred dollars.
How to Report an Error
Errors on credit reports don’t typically fix themselves. Account owners often have to be the ones to bring the error to the credit bureau’s attention.
Here are steps to take if you find an error in one of your reports.
1. Confirming the error is present on other credit reports.
Credit scores may vary across credit reporting bureaus, but all the core information should be the same. That means if there’s an error on one, it’s best to check that it’s on the other two. You can order free reports from all three bureaus–Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion–from the free Annual Report Site , and check each report against the others.
2. Gathering evidence.
To prove an element of the credit report is wrong, there needs to be evidence to the contrary. That means you’ll want to collect supporting documentation that shows the report has an error, whether that’s a recent bank statement, ID, or a loan document. Having this documentation on hand can make the process move faster.
3. Reporting the error to the credit reporting company.
To resolve the error, you’ll want to file a formal dispute with the credit reporting company. You can contact them by mail, phone, or online. The CFPB offers more details on how to file a dispute.
It’s important to make sure to include all documentation of the error, in addition to proper identification.
Here’s how to contact each credit reporting company:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30348
Phone: (866) 349-5191
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Phone: (888) 397-3742
Consumer Dispute Center
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Phone: (800) 916-8800
4. Contacting the furnisher (if applicable).
A furnisher is a company that gave the credit reporting bureau information for the report. If the report’s mistake is an error from a bank or credit card company, you can also reach out to the furnisher to amend its mistake. You can contact the company through the mail (the address can be found on the credit report), or reach out to customer service by phone or online.
If the furnisher corrects the mistake, it could, in turn, update the credit report. But, to play it safe, reach out to both parties.
5. Reaching out to the FTC to report identity theft (if applicable).
If you notice an error that suggests identity theft (such as unknown accounts or unfamiliar debt), it’s a good idea to sign up with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) IdentityTheft.gov site in addition to alerting the credit bureaus. The FTC’s tool can help users create a recovery plan and figure out the next steps.
6. Sitting tight and waiting for a response.
Once someone sends a credit dispute to a bureau or furnisher, they can expect to hear back within 30 days, typically by mail.
When a credit bureau receives a dispute, they have one of two choices: agree or disagree. If the bureau agrees, they will correct the error and send a new credit report.
If the bureau disagrees and doesn’t believe there’s an error, they won’t remove it from the report. In some cases, they may not agree there’s an error because there’s a delay in information getting to them.For example, a recently canceled credit card might not show up as canceled in their records yet. Changes like that might take some time.
However, if you’re confident of the error and a credit bureau doesn’t agree, that’s not your last stop.
You can also reach out to the CFPB to file an official complaint . The complaint should include all documentation of the dispute. Once the CFPB receives the complaint, you can keep track of its progress on the organization’s website.
Checking your credit reports can help you ensure that the information is used to calculate your credit scores is accurate and up to date. It can also tip you off to fraud or identity theft
It’s easy and free to gain access to your credit reports from the three major bureaus once a year. Taking advantage of this service (and reporting any errors you may come across) can be key to maintaining good credit, and good overall financial health.
Another way to maintain good financial health is to pay your bills on time (which can boost your credit score), and to keep track of your spending. Signing up for SoFi Checking and Savings® Account can help with both.
A SoFi Checking and Savings Account lets you track your weekly spending right in the app, as well as set up individual or recurring bill payments to make sure they’re on time. You’ll also earn a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) to help your money grow.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.