How to Fix Your Credit Reports

Before you apply for a mortgage or car loan, check your credit files for errors that could derail your plans.

broken credit scores dial
(Image credit: Illustration by Raul Arias)

Inaccurate information on your credit reports could hurt your credit score, and errors are not uncommon. Complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about the major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—skyrocketed in 2020, and the majority concerned incorrect information, according to a report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have a right to dispute information in your credit reports that you believe is inaccurate. Unfortunately, however, you can’t just send a complaint to the CFPB and watch the mistakes magically disappear. You need to take specific steps to get the credit agencies to scrub errors.

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Rivan V. Stinson
Ex-staff writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Rivan joined Kiplinger on Leap Day 2016 as a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. A Michigan native, she graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 and from there freelanced as a local copy editor and proofreader, and served as a research assistant to a local Detroit journalist. Her work has been featured in the Ann Arbor Observer and Sage Business Researcher. She is currently assistant editor, personal finance at The Washington Post.