Finding an error on your Equifax credit report is enough to put you into a panic until you figure out what happened. It can take time to reach the right people to help you, which adds to your frustration.
Unfortunately, when so many people and companies are involved in the credit reporting process, mistakes are bound to happen at some point. Here’s how to take a step back, calmly evaluate what is wrong and get it fixed. There are paid services that you can engage to help you clean up your credit report. However, it’s free to make a claim to Equifax.
Contact Equifax Directly For Help
Equifax agrees that your credit score should not be negatively affected because of someone else’s error. The company is generally cooperative and will help you resolve any problems free of charge, after thoroughly investigating your claim. You can make a claim directly to Equifax to dispute the error in one of the following ways:
Online Via The Equifax Website
Use the Equifax Online Dispute Form to start the process. After entering your contact and identifying information, you can put in the details about the mistake you found and why you believe it is a mistake. Generally, you’ll go through the following steps:
- Complete each section of the application. The form will take you to a page that allows you to upload documents to support your claim. For example, if your credit report incorrectly shows that you did not make a credit card payment, you can submit a copy of your bank statement proving that you did make the payment.
- Finish entering all of your information. You will have a chance to review your claim form before you submit it to Equifax. If you need to make any changes you can do so before you submit the claim.
- Submit the form online. You’ll receive a confirmation message on the screen and via email.
- Equifax promises to review your online claim and make any corrections or adjustments to your credit record within 30 days from when you submitted it.
Mail The Equifax Claim Form Directly To Equifax
Instead of making a claim on the website, you can print out a form, fill it in and mail it to Equifax. The form is called a Research Request Form:
- It is simple to complete and has only one page. It asks for biographic and identifying information, including your U.S. Social Security number.
- In the dispute section, you’ll need to provide the following information about the item on your credit report that is not correct:
- The name of the company that reported incorrect information to Equifax.
- Your account number with that company if you have one. Otherwise, list the account number shown on the report, even if it is not yours.
- The reason why you are asking for an investigation. For example, that the account is not yours, you’ve paid in full, or the current or previous status is incorrect (it is closed/open etc.)
- If none of these reasons applies, then there is a box to check as “other” and some space for an explanation.
- Mail the completed and signed form to: Equifax Information Services, LLC; P.O. Box 740256; Atlanta, GA 30374.
- Equifax promises to “respond” within 30-45 days. A response does not necessarily mean that your dispute will be resolved, only that you will receive some kind of a response. The response could be simply a letter acknowledging receipt of your claim without further action.
- Clearly, you’ll receive a faster response if you file the claim online. However, if you don’t have access to a computer or are not familiar with using one, then printing out the form and mailing it in, is a good alternative. We suggest sending it certified mail so you have a record of the date you mailed it.
Call The Equifax Dispute Phone Number
It is always best to make claims about mistakes in your credit report in writing. You’ll have a record of exactly what you asked the company to review and what evidence you submitted to support your claim.
However, calling the company to open a file is a good way to get the process started:
- The phone number is 866-349-5191.
- The company will open a file for you and provide instructions about what you should do going forward.
- You can also request that Equifax not give your information to any company asking for your credit information until they correct the error on your credit report.
After You Submit The Report
Once you make your claim, you can monitor the status of your dispute online. In order to log in, you’ll need to enter your 10-digit Confirmation Number that you received at the time you originally filed your claim, your Social Security number and your last name.
It’s Important To Have An Accurate Credit Record
It’s not just financial institutions that use your credit information to make decisions about you. Utility and insurance companies for example have access to your credit information. In fact, your credit score can affect the rate you pay for insurance or influence whether you are eligible for an installment loan to pay for a washing machine or a new vehicle.
Having an accurate credit report is extremely important. Check your report at all three main credit reporting companies often. If you find an error on one company’s report, there’s a good chance that it will show up on the other two. Take the time to contact them and report the error. Follow up on a regular basis to ensure that your credit score continues to improve or remains high.