You Ask, Bev Answers: Can I Dispute Information on My Credit Reports During COVID-19?
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In a time of great uncertainty, a voice of knowledge and reassurance can make all the difference. Beverly Anderson, President of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax, answers your questions based on her years of experience in the consumer finance industry. You can post a question for Bev on Equifax’s Facebook page. Bev regrets that she cannot answer every question individually.
Question: Can I dispute information on my credit reports during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes, you can dispute information on your credit reports during the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Talking directly to your lender or creditor is often the best option for handling disputes, however you can also contact each of the three credit bureaus. Just be aware that in either instance, it may take longer than normal to reach a customer service agent due to increased call volume.
Let’s take a step back to go over how credit reports are compiled. Credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, receive information about your financial behavior from lenders and creditors with whom you have financial relationships. This information includes credit accounts and lines you have now or have had in the past, as well as your payment history, how much you’ve borrowed, any judgments against you and other details.
It’s a good idea to regularly check your credit reports so you are familiar with how your credit history appears on your credit reports and to make certain that the information included is accurate.
If you believe there are errors on your credit reports, one way to handle disputes is to contact your creditor or lender directly to confirm how the questionable information is being reported. As part of the dispute process, it's a good idea to provide the credit reporting agency with documents showing that the lender or creditor has made a mistake in reporting your financial information to support your dispute, so be prepared and have that paper trail handy if possible.
If you believe certain information is being reported inaccurately, you can file a dispute with the nationwide credit bureau with which you noticed the discrepancy. Follow this link to file a dispute with Equifax. If you’d like to file a dispute with one of the other nationwide credit bureaus, such as Experian or TransUnion, check with them to determine their dispute processes.
If you’ve agreed to a special financial arrangement with your lender or creditor during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as deferred or delayed payments, ensure that agreement is accurately reflected on your credit reports. Although these agreements may take time to process, if you see something that doesn’t look right, reach out to your lender or creditor to confirm the details of your arrangement.
You may already know that there are multiple ways you can obtain a free credit report and review this information. But it’s important to note that you can set up a free myEquifax account to do so much more: conveniently initiate a security or credit freeze, file a fraud or active duty alert, file and manage disputes, and get six free credit reports per year. In addition, you can click “Get my free credit score” on your myEquifax dashboard to enroll in Equifax Core Credit™ for a free monthly Equifax credit report and a free monthly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score, based on Equifax data. A VantageScore is one of many types of credit scores.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, all three nationwide credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — are offering weekly free online credit reports via annualcreditreport.com through April 2021. Review your credit reports often to ensure your information is being reported correctly.
Beverly Anderson is the President of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax. She is responsible for the strategy, development, growth and profitability of direct and indirect businesses serving consumers with credit, identity and financial education products and services.
For more than three decades, Beverly has built businesses and delivered significant results in the financial services and payments industries. She drove consumer and small business strategies, product strategies, and enterprise growth and profitability strategies for First USA (now JPMorgan Chase), Fleet (now Bank of America) and American Express. Before joining Equifax, she was the Executive Vice President of Cards and Retail Services at Wells Fargo where she led consumer credit cards, co-branded cards, loyalty solutions, retail finance, digital payments and enablement capabilities. Beverly has also held leadership roles managing auto loans, personal lines and loans, servicing, loan operations, collections and fraud operations. https://www.equifax.com/about-equifax/corporate-leadership/beverly-anderson/