WASHINGTON — With a new government report just released on the accuracy of credit reports, the American Bankers Association provides the following tips:
1. Obtain your credit report for free from all three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) once per year online at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can get the reports instantly after providing your personal identifying information.
2. Carefully examine “negative” items for accuracy.
3. Dispute errors immediately. All bureaus allow consumers to dispute items online by simply “checking” a box.
4. Request that accurate negative items older than seven years be removed.
5. Once you have thoroughly reviewed each report and disputed inaccuracies, here’s how to improve your credit score:
- Make sure you pay your bills on time.
- Use less than 30 percent of your available credit (best case scenario.)
- Do not close old, unused accounts (the longer your credit history, the better).
- Refrain from applying for multiple loans in a short period of time.
- Pay off any items in collection immediately.
“Obtaining your free credit report from all three agencies is easy, and all consumers should do so at least once a year,” said Nessa Feddis, ABA senior vice president and deputy chief counsel for consumer protection and payments. “Disputing errors is also easier than many people think with today’s online features,” she added.
The credit reporting agencies have 30 days to confirm the accuracy of a negative item or they must remove it.
The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation’s $14 trillion banking industry and its two million employees. Learn more at aba.com.