6 Tips for Effective Credit Disputes

Learn the art of making disputes to the credit bureaus.

Credit dispute tips

Credit repair isn’t always easy. While you can go through the process on your own and make disputes yourself, they have to be made the right way if you want to be successful. Otherwise, there’s a chance your disputes can be rejected even if the information you’re disputing is actually wrong or incorrectly reported.

And that can be really frustrating. By law you can include a 100-word statement in your report if a negative item remains after you make a dispute, but the information will still be there until the penalty expires. And you’ll have to work harder to offset the damage of that negative item if you want a good credit score.

The information below can help you understand how to make effective credit report disputes, but it’s only a starting point and the tips below can’t guarantee success. If you need help, call us or complete the form to connect with the appropriate professional.

Tip No. 1: Details on top for easy reference

Your dispute letter should always include your full legal name and social security number at the top of the letter. You should also include any account numbers relevant to the disputes made in the body of the letter.

This might make you nervous to put that sensitive information in a letter, but it’s important for the credit bureau to have it in an easy-to-reference place so they can find your information easily. Plus, a tip below can provide the extra peace of mind you need to know your information is safe.

Tip No. 2: Make sure it’s readable

Ideally, your letter should be typed because it leaves zero room for error. In the past, handwritten letters were acceptable, but in this day and age, you should make an effort to type and print your letter. If you absolutely have to write it, make sure your handwriting is impeccable so it’s 100% readable.

Of course, you may be wondering, if you’re typing your letter, why not just apply online? Surely the credit bureaus have online dispute systems?

They do, but most experts advise clients to avoid the online application system and opt for mailed letters instead. It’s better for including sensitive information and easier for providing documentation of the disputes you want to make. You have more control of the process and can ensure your best possible chances for success.

Tip No. 3: Be concise about the issue

Disputes should be as short and to the point as possible. You want to describe exactly what you think is wrong or incorrect and what needs to be done for the information to be corrected. It should just be the facts.

The credit bureau doesn’t want to know the why, they just want know what. So you want to leave out the back story and just be specific about the details of your dispute.

Pop Quiz

If you have a missed payment indicated in your credit report that you actually made, what should your dispute letter state?

a) The missed payment indicated was made within 30 days of the due date.

b) Admission the payment was late because an emergency affected your budget.

c) A payment of $_____ was made on ______ date.

d) All of the above

Reveal Answer

While answer (c) may seem more accurate, you’re providing information that isn’t actually required. The dispute is simply that the payment was or was not made – that is what has to be verified.

a) The missed payment indicated was made within 30 days of the due date.

Return to question

And remember, any documentation you have may provide extra details about the case. So while the statement in the above Pop Quiz dispute would be limited to stating the payment was made, your documentation might be a copy of a check that shows a certain payment amount was made by a certain date.

Tip No. 4: Documentation is key

It’s important to note that the burden of proof on credit report disputes is for the creditors to verify that the information provided is correct. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, any information that can’t be verified must be removed.

On the other hand, any proof or documentation you can provide of the error will only make your case stronger. So copies of checks, statements, correspondence with your creditor can be beneficial to your success. If it proves the mistake, it’s worth including – just make sure to use copies and keep the originals for your records.

Tip No. 5: Registered mail, return receipt requested

Always make sure that your dispute letters are sent by registered mail with return receipt requested. This way, you know your letters are being sent securely and you know exactly when they’re delivered to the bureau.

Remember, the receipt of your disputes by the bureau starts the clock on the amount of time they have to respond. So when you get confirmation that your letters were received, you know exactly how long you have before you hear back.

Fact: By law, the credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to disputes.

Tip No. 6: Keep everything

You have to make sure you keep everything related to the disputes that you make. This includes copies of everything that you send, as well as copies of any correspondence you get back from either the original creditor or the credit bureau. This can help you track your disputes and ensure that things are done correctly. If something happens, you have a paper trail to make your case.