Big Brother is watching ... your finances. The three major
credit-reporting companies-Equifax, Experian and
TransUnion-maintain files on roughly 220 million Americans. If the
information about you is not accurate, you could be forced to pay a
higher interest rate, or you could be rejected for a credit card or
How to Fix an Error on Your Credit Report
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new federal
watchdog agency, has announced that it will supervise 30 of the
largest credit-reporting agencies (there are actually about 400).
According to Richard Cordray, the CFPB director, the bureau will
examine the accuracy of the data the agencies receive, how the
companies maintain and assemble the information in consumers'
credit reports, and how the agencies manage dispute resolution.
The CFPB's tough new oversight is welcome news. By some
estimates, as many as 25% of credit reports contain errors. A
yearlong investigation by the
of complaints involving credit reports on file with the big three
agencies found bank-approved short sales listed as
fore�closures, paid-off car loans listed as
repossessions, and closed credit card accounts listed as
delinquent. So you still need to be vigilant about checking your
credit report. To request a free report, go to
. You are entitled to one free report from each of the big three
once every 12 months.
If you do discover an inaccuracy, write to the credit agency and
be sure to enclose any supporting documentation. The agency must
investigate, provide a written report and correct any errors it
discovers. If that doesn't work, contact the
This article first appeared in
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
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