Requesting Changes to Your Credit Profile

Before obtaining financial credit, creditors review your credit profile to determine if you are a good risk. Your credit profile contains financial records, including bank account summaries, loan and mortgage information, total available credit, and the status of previous and current accounts. People with a low credit score have trouble receiving loans, credit cards, and affordable car insurance. This is why it is important to run a credit report every year so that you can verify all information in your profile and correct any errors. Many times, your credit score is incorrectly low due to errors or out-dated information. It is up to you to find the errors in your credit profile and request a correction. Otherwise, your credit score will remain low.

Step 1 – Run a Report

The first step in finding and correcting errors in your credit profile is to run a credit report. The three major consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) allow you to view your credit report for free. Simply visit one of the agency's website and fill out the required information to view your financial standing.

Step 2 – Locate Errors

Print out your credit profile so that you can have a hardcopy. Closely examine each part. Verify all personal information to make sure it is correct and up-to-date (e.g. current address, phone number, first and last name, Social Security number). Next, verify all financial information, such as mortgages, credit cards, bankruptcy filings, and lines of credit. Protect yourself from identity theft by carefully reviewing all accounts to ensure that the information is accurate. Highlight any incorrect, out-dated, or fraudulent information.

Step 3 – Gather Documents

To request changes to your credit profile, you’ll need to gather documents supporting your dispute. For example, if your address is incorrect in your profile, you’ll need to show proof of address (e.g. current utility bill). If an account appears as not in “good standing” because of unpaid debt that you have actually paid, simply collect documents to verify your payment (e.g. bank statements, receipts).

Step 4 – Request Changes

Next, write a letter of dispute to formally request changes to your credit profile. This letter will contain personal information, such as your name, address, telephone number, and Social Security number. In the body of the letter, identify the erroneous information and give reasons why you are disputing the error. Finally, include copies of all supporting documents with your highlighted credit profile and letter of dispute. Send the documents to the reporting agency via certified mail. Request a return receipt, so that you have proof of mailing the documents. Be sure to keep copies of all documents for your records, as well.

Step 5 – Rerun Your Report

The reporting agency will have up to 30 days to respond to your request. They will notify you in writing of any changes made to your credit profile. If they do not change the information, you can request the change a second time and supply more supporting documentation if possible.

Once you’ve heard back from the agency, rerun your credit report to make sure all changes were correctly made. If they were, your credit score will now be higher than it was before you requested the change.

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