Every prospective home-buyer should know what kind of shape their credit is in. A credit report is the most revealing document that a consumer has available at their disposal and it gives lenders a snapshot of their financial situation and ability to repay their debts. Fortunately, individuals can access their credit report for free each year so that they may know where their credit situation stands. One thing that many people are astonished to see on their credit reports are glaring errors. This usually happens a little too late unfortunately – when a mortgage lender is evaluating their application or during some other crucial moment in life.
Unfortunately, errors in credit reporting are incredibly common. Sometimes the error is in the reporting of the name or address, basic information of that type. Other times, the problem lies in incorrect reporting – say, of a debt that has been repaid in full – or suspicious activity that could point toward identity theft. It is in everyone’s best interests to get a copy of their credit report in their hands each and every year.
Get Your Report from Equifax
Equifax is the primary credit reporting agency in Canada, so Equifax.com is the place to start. Via their online platform, you can request a copy of your credit report via email or standard mail once every twelve months.
Assess Your Report for Errors
It’s worthwhile to go over every detail of your credit report, even with a magnifying glass if that makes you feel better! In order for a credit report to be an accurate summation of your credit situation, it needs to be 100% correct in its reporting. Your name, address and other basic information will be present on the report. Make sure that every letter and number is accurate, even with this most standard of data.
From there, it’s time to look at which debts have been reported. Go over each line in the document carefully and make notes of anything that is incorrect.
Collect Supporting Documents
Receipts and other documents can be used to dispute an inaccurate line on your credit report. If you have access to any such documentation, now is the time to pull it all together.
File an Official Dispute with Both Credit Reporting Agencies
Equifax and TransUnion Canada are the two reporting agencies in Canada. On both of their websites, consumers can request a form to submit as a means of initiating the dispute.
From there, each credit reporting bureau will investigate your claim. They will do this by contacting the creditor in question. If the creditor agrees that a mistake has been made, the bureau will correct your credit report.
You may be able to speed the process along by contacting the creditor with whom the falsely reported information is connected. You’ll be able to verify their records for accuracy and request that they report the updated (if an update is made) information to the credit reporting bureaus.
Unsatisfied with Your Results? Escalate Your Case
If you feel that you have been wronged and had a disputed claim left unjustly on your credit report, you still have some recourse. Ask to speak with someone higher-ranking within the credit bureau or the financial institution in question. Each institution should have a method of dealing with complaints, including the involvement of a third party.
Incorrect information on a credit report is nothing uncommon. You might be astonished at what simple mistakes could be dragging your credit through the mud.