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Boosting Credit Scores with Bureau Report Disputes

Updated on April 26, 2015
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Since the 1971 Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) passed, consumers have been able to access their credit scores and reports through three major credit rating agencies. There is a fourth agency on the rise to meet market demands. Each of these companies employ thousands of workers each year to meet the public's demands.

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Equifax

Created in 1899, Equifax is the oldest of the 4 credit rating agencies. They obtain and update information on over 400 million credit holders throughout the nation. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, they have offices in 14 different countries, and has over 7000 employees. Equifax maintains a website to enable you to view your credit report and score, and dispute any suspicious activity on your report for removal with a simple online form.

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Experian

In 1996 when GUS plc's acquired TRW Information Systems & Services, and then merged with their subsidiary CCN Group, the creation of Experian took place. Their corporate offices are located in Dublin, Ireland. They have operational headquarters in three other countries including the United States. Experian North America is their largest operation handling credit and consumer services. Their global website provides easy access to credit reports and scores, as well as a simple form for credit report disputes.

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TransUnion

Founded in 1968, TransUnion is the third largest credit reporting agency in the United States. In 2002 they acquired TrueCredit.com entering the direct-to-consumer market. They maintain credit records on over 500 million worldwide consumers, and 45,000 businesses. TransUnion also owns the website CreditKarma, which supplies consumers with their free TransUnion credit report and score, along with free credit monitoring. They also provide a "Vantagescore" which calculates credit worthiness to lenders, an auto insurance score, and a home insurance score, which also supplied free of cost to help you stay on top of your credit.

Credit Reporting Agencies

Innovis

Innovis is the fourth and newest credit reporting agency. It started as ACB Services in 1970, and was founded by the Associated Credit Bureaus (ACB). A smaller portion of businesses use them for credit reporting, two of them being GMAC and Trade Capital Company. They employ nearly 2000 employees, and have a revenue of 175 million dollars. As of 2014 Innovis does not have web viewable credit reports for consumers; however, one is available by telephone or mail request. They do have other features online such as report disputing and account freezes once a report is obtained.

Free Annual Credit Report

All US residents legally have the right to obtain one credit report yearly from each of these agencies. To make it simple, FreeAnnualCreditReport is the only source authorized by the Federal Government to help you access these reports online. Remember to save your report once it is received.

A Side By Side Agency Comparison

 
Free Report
Online Reports
Online Disputes
Credit Monitoring
Experian
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Equifax
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
TransUnion
No/Free via creditkarma.com
Yes
Yes
Yes
Innovis
Yes
No
Yes
No
FreeAnnualCreditReport
Yes
Yes
No/Yes (via agency)
No
All agencies are required by US law to supply a free credit report every 12-months (once per year) to United States citizens.
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Credit Score Savvy Quiz

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Credit Report Tips, Tricks and Disputes

There are several tips to note while accessing your credit report, as well as things to know while disputing an entry.


Tips and Tricks:

  • Some companies only allow access to the report for 24-hours. Make sure to save a copy of the report for future reference.
  • While accessing your free credit report many companies will try to squeeze a dollar out of your wallet by offering your credit score. Remember, this can be obtained for free on CreditKarma.
  • AnnualCreditReport does not operate on a twelve month calendar, or by the date of your last visit. Each state is assigned a month. You will be told this month as your next return date to access your next three credit reports when you enter your details into the website.
  • If you find a lot of transactions that are not yours on your credit report it is important to place a freeze on your account. This prevents anybody without your very detailed information from accessing your credit report, and obtaining credit in your name.
  • If these transactions are widespread it's best to call the bureaus to report identity theft. This will help to restore your credit, and your name, sooner.


Disputes:

  • If you find any discrepancies on your report simply click on the dispute button found either next to the entry, or at the top of the page.
  • When you fill-out the short online dispute form there is not much room for detail. Try to be as precise as possible in the limited characters you have to work with.
  • Regardless of your dispute reasons, demand that the company who submitted the error confirms your identity, and the transaction.
  • The company with the charge in question must respond with verification of your identity, and the charges within 30 days from the dispute, or it will be removed from your report permanently.
  • Keep in mind that many accounts are transferred between multiple companies, and quite often pertinent details no longer exist, and can not be confirmed. This is what credit specialists do to improve credit. Dispute, dispute, dispute to clean up your credit.

Everybody has to start somewhere with their credit. Whether you have no credit, poor credit or good credit, knowing what is in your report is the key to obtaining excellent credit. With these links, tips and some motivation you will be on your way to achieving the great financial goal of excellent credit.

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© 2014 Rachael M Ryhn

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