How To Dispute An Error With Equifax

How To Dispute An Error With Equifax

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated September 23, 2022

Your credit report is a crucial document that lenders and creditors will look at when you apply for a credit product like a personal loan or credit card. The information in your credit report is used by these lenders to evaluate your creditworthiness. Unfortunately, it’s possible for your credit report to contain errors, which can negatively impact your credit scores and consequently your chances of approval. That’s why it’s so important to pull your credit report at least once a year to look for any mistakes and have them fixed right away.

If you notice any inaccuracies in your credit report, you’ll want to take steps to file a dispute with Equifax or another credit bureau associated with your erroneous report. Read on to find out how.

What Do You Need To File A Dispute With Equifax? 

If you discover an error on your Equifax credit report, it’s essential that you report these mistakes to Equifax immediately. Not only could your identity be at risk, but your credit scores could also be unfairly pulled down. 

To dispute an error with Equifax, you’ll need to provide certain pieces of information and documentation, including the following:

Personal Information 

  • Government-issued identification with your full name, date of birth, or address (ie. Social Insurance Number (SIN) or driver’s license)
  • Birth certificate
  • Document proving your address and telephone number (ie. utility bill)

Account Information

  • Letter from a lender or creditor supporting your statement
  • Proof that an account was opened fraudulently as a result of identity theft

Other Information 

  • Release letter from lenders, creditors, or collection agencies
  • Court records showing clearance from bankruptcy 
Free Equifax credit score

Steps On How To File A Dispute With Equifax

If you find errors on your credit report, your next step is to file a dispute with Equifax. Be sure to compile all the necessary documents mentioned above in order to avoid any hassle.

Step 1. File A Credit Dispute With Equifax

Disputing an error on your Equifax credit report can be done in one of two ways: online or via mail. Either way, you’ll need to complete and submit your dispute form (Consumer Credit Report Update Form) and all the required documents in order to get the process started.

Step 2. Wait For Results

Once Equifax receives your dispute, it will be processed. The results of the investigation will be communicated with you as soon as a decision has been reached. 

If you submitted your dispute online, the results will be sent through email. On the other hand, if you send in your dispute through the mail, your results will be mailed to you.  

How Is An Equifax Error Handled After Submitting A Dispute? 

Once you’ve submitted a dispute, Equifax will look at the information you provided and compare it to what’s currently on your credit report. Disputes sent electronically will be processed in 10 to 15 days, and mailed-in disputes will be processed in 15 to 20 days. 

What Happens If Equifax Agrees There’s An Error?

If Equifax is able to confirm that the information on your credit report is inaccurate, it will obtain the correct data from the appropriate source. Equifax will then make the necessary changes to your credit report to correct the error. 

You’ll receive a modified report with the correct information, and any creditors or other entities that accessed your report within 60 days of the changes will be notified as well.

What Happens If Equifax Disagrees There’s An Error?

If Equifax’s investigation does not result in a resolution, they will contact the source of the originally-reported information to validate it. They may also contact you for additional information if required. 

If Equifax is unable to confirm the error or if the source verifies the information as accurate, no changes will be made to your file.  If you disagree with Equifax’s findings, you can submit a statement voicing your concerns in no more than 400 words. 

Common Mistakes To Look For On Your Equifax Credit Report

There are a few errors that could show up on your credit report that you should be aware of, including the following:

  • Errors About Your Personal Information. The credit bureau may spell your name incorrectly, or have the wrong address, phone number, or birthdate on your credit report. 
  • Inaccuracies On Your Payment Status. You may be up-to-date on all your bill payments, but it’s possible that your credit report may not reflect that. Instead, some of your loan or credit card payments may be reported as late or missed.  
  • Closed Accounts Showing As Open. If you closed a credit account long ago, there’s a chance it could still be showing up on your credit report as being open. 
  • Repeat Account Entries. Account activity may be re-entered more than once by mistake, and if these entries have to do with overdue accounts, your credit scores could suffer. 
  • Someone Else’s Account Information. If there’s someone else who has the exact same name as you do, it’s possible that their account information could be mistakenly entered onto your credit report instead of yours. 
  • Identity Theft. Aside from an error in identity, any incorrect or unknown accounts that show up on your credit report could be the result of identity theft. In fact, identity theft is one of the more important reasons why consumers should check their credit reports regularly. 

How Long Does Information Stay On Your Equifax Credit Report? 

The length of time that specific information remains on your Equifax credit report depends on the type of data. But generally, the length varies between 2 to 6 years. Given how long certain information can stay on your credit report, it’s important to rectify any mistakes as it may affect your ability to access credit in the future. 

Remarks How Long Information Stays On Your Equifax Credit Report
Hard inquiries (ie. lenders accessing your report after applying for a loan)3 years
Payment history and bank account information6 Years
Debt Management Program (DMP) 2 years after the debt is paid in full or 6 years after the DMP started, whichever of the two comes first
Consumer proposal3 years after payment or 6 years after being started
Bankruptcy6 years from discharge date for the first bankruptcy; 14 years for subsequent bankruptcies
Judgments6 years

Equifax Credit Report Dispute FAQs

What is the best way to add a statement to my Equifax credit report?

If an investigation after your dispute does not result in a resolution, you can add a statement to your credit report in 400 words or less for free. This statement will be included every time your credit report is accessed. The statement should be sent in writing to Equifax and include your full name, address, phone number, birth date, and photocopies of two pieces of identification. 

What if my dispute is with a creditor?

If you initiate a dispute with a creditor, they’ll conduct their own investigation and notify you directly with the results. They’ll also inform Equifax if any changes to your credit report should be made. 

Is there anything I can’t modify on my Equifax credit report?

Only inaccuracies can be modified on your Equifax credit report. That means any information that is correct cannot be changed. For instance, if you truly missed a bill payment, then you cannot change that information.  It’s also important to note that certain pieces of information cannot be included on your credit report, including your marital status, medical information, bank account balances, criminal records, education, income, and purchase transaction history. 

How does Equifax correct reports?

Equifax will start by comparing the information you provide to what’s already on file. It’s possible for Equifax to fix the issues without an investigation. If not, Equifax will get in touch with creditors to rectify the situation and make the changes required (if mistakes were made). They’ll then notify you of the steps taken to rectify the errors or certify that the data provided was correct. You’ll get an updated copy of your credit report after changes are made. 

Final Thoughts

Mistakes on your credit report can pull down your credit score unnecessarily. If you spot any mistakes on your report, you’ll want to file a dispute with Equifax to have them rectified.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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