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The Anatomy of a Credit Dispute

Written by Equifax Reporter on November 30, 2015 in Credit  |   13 comments

If you want to dispute something on your credit report, it’s important to first understand the dispute process and how errors may show up on your credit report. Although creditors are held to standards by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when reporting your data…

CreditDisputeIf you want to dispute something on your credit report, it’s important to first understand the dispute process and how errors may show up on your credit report.

Although creditors are held to standards by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when reporting your data to the credit reporting agencies (CRAs), they may still make mistakes. Or, identity thieves may apply for lines of credit using your name or personal information. In these cases, incorrect data may show up on your credit report and, if you don’t spot it, may stay there.

Here are few important things to remember as you begin the process:

  • Errors in your personal information, accounts, or payment history are important to remedy, but not everything can be disputed or removed. The information being disputed must be incomplete, incorrect, or the result of fraud.
  • You cannot file a dispute for information which you know to be true. However, legitimate errors can be disputed for free, and it is important to do so to keep your credit report updated and correct.

Reviewing your credit report
If you’re planning to file a dispute, you may have already reviewed your credit report. If not, you can obtain one free copy each year from all three major CRAs at annualcreditreport.com. Pay careful attention to your personal information, including your address and the spelling of your name, as well as your account balances and payment histories when reviewing your accounts. Errors in this information may be easy to miss and can cause problems. Keep track of any errors you find and whether they’ve shown up before.

Filing a dispute
Once you’ve reviewed your credit report, and if you believe you have identified a potential error, you can file a dispute with the CRAs online, by mail, or over the phone. The method you choose will correspond with how you receive updates, so be sure to choose your preferred method of contact.

Investigating on your behalf
Once you file a dispute, you should receive a response within 30-45 days, likely by mail or email, depending on how you submitted your dispute. During this time, the CRA will investigate your claim, attempt to verify the information with the lender involved, and determine whether an error has occurred.AnatomyofCreditDispute

The dispute process at Equifax takes approximately 30 days. On average, a dispute filed at Equifax is completed within 10 days.

You can also contact the relevant lender ahead of time to ensure they have your correct personal information on file.

Once an error has been corrected, the other CRAs should eventually be notified and make the same changes. To help expedite the process, you can file a dispute with them for the same information.

Once you have had your dispute resolved, it’s not a bad idea to check your credit report again and ensure the changes have been made.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Diana Q. says:

    Hello I want to cancel my order. Thank you Diana

    • EFX Moderator says:

      Hi, Diana.
      We would like to help you address your matter. Please submit your matter/inquiry, along with your legal name, city/state, & email address used for EFX registration, to equifaxsupport@facebook.com so that a Customer Support agent can respond to you directly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What can be done about lenders who report balances prior to the monthly account closing date or before payment is even due on an account but particularly monthly zero balance accounts? How can these early reports be corrected?

  3. Brenda w. says:

    Hello I’m trying fix my credit

  4. Ron F. says:

    This article makes it sound so easy. I have been battling for over 3 months with several accounts that are incorrect. The lenders just send the same “We are right, You are wrong, Please go away” letter. They DO NOT address the issues that are in disput. It is more than a yes or no answer to resolve some disputes. In fact one lender reported the wrong account number then added the wrong account to my report showing another account that was wrong. Before entering into a dispute, please realize it may take several months to a year before it gets resolved.

  5. Ondago says:

    What happens when the creditors continue to report incorrect information.

  6. Miguel C M. says:

    I disputed some incorrect hard inquires in my credit report one being by Capitol One, they illegally run my credit twice within 4 days apart in violation of FRCA. Equifax respond was that they investigate it and it was correct, it is clear that Equifax do not investigate this disputes, if they would investigate them they would find out the violation of this FRCA code.
    Miguel C M.

  7. Kelly J says:

    How will dropping a dispute affect my credit score.

  8. Paul says:


    I paid down my credit cards and received a pre-approval. An emergency occurred and I used my credit card and my credit score dropped a few points due to credit usage. I have since paid the credit card back down. How can I file a dispute to have the CRA’s update my file in a more timely manner with the new low balance before my credit files are processed again for the home purchase?

    • Amy Sue says:

      You can not dispute it, your credit card company reports once per month to the bureaus. You will have to wait for the next reporting date . I have called my 2 credit card companies and asked them what day of the month do they report. That way I always pay off my balance in full prior to that date making my credit utilization very low which is positively reflected on credit scores.

  9. Amy M says:

    I have a medical bill that I never received. They have my address as one that I have not lived at for almost 20 yrs. I contacted the collections agency requesting a copy of the bill and all additional information. It has been over a month and I have not received anything. I also contacted the doctor’s office and received no reply. Is this something that can be disputed?

  10. BDC says:

    I’m looking for an estimate (an educated guess) as to the range of the increase to my currently low 600 credit score, based only on the payoff (on cc account) of a charged off collection account for an amount less than full balance. The account balance, should that make a difference, is about $10,000. The new report, after said payoff, would then indicate a zero balance and show as a “paid account (or paid collection account) for an amount less that full balance”. HELP!

  11. Lou says:

    I have a lot of inquiries on my Credit Report. When I purchased my car, many Financial Institutions pulled my credit report. What process should I take to get these off.

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