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:
- 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)
- Letter from a lender or creditor supporting your statement
- Proof that an account was opened fraudulently as a result of identity theft
- Release letter from lenders, creditors, or collection agencies
- Court records showing clearance from bankruptcy
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 information||6 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 proposal||3 years after payment or 6 years after being started|
|Bankruptcy||6 years from discharge date for the first bankruptcy; 14 years for subsequent bankruptcies|
Equifax Credit Report Dispute FAQs
What is the best way to add a statement to my Equifax credit report?
What if my dispute is with a creditor?
Is there anything I can’t modify on my Equifax credit report?
How does Equifax correct reports?
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.