Credit scores are numerical values that represent an individual's credit worthiness. Different organizations produce credit scores according to different criteria, often using information supplied by a credit bureau, also known as a credit reference agency, in the form of a credit report. Creditors, landlords, and employers may all use credit scores in making decisions about applicants and employees. If you believe that your credit score does not reflect your actual credit worthiness, you can dispute a credit score by challenging the information that is in your credit report. If the negative information in your report is removed, this will typically change your credit score.
The process of challenging information in your credit report differs among countries. The laws in your country may entitle you to examine your credit report for free, or you may have to pay a small charge so that you can view and dispute a credit score or information on your credit report. Contact the credit bureaus in your country and request your credit report. The three major credit bureaus in the United States are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. In the United Kingdom, these companies are known as credit reference agencies and include Equifax, Experian, and CallCredit. People living in Germany should contact SCHUFA.
Once you receive your reports, check each account listed to see if it belongs or belonged to you. Make sure that the balances, if any, are accurate. In the United States, negative information must be removed from a credit report after seven years, and other countries may have similar laws regarding credit information. Inaccurate information will lead to an inaccurate credit score, so to dispute a credit score you need to actually dispute the information that is used in its calculation.
After reviewing your reports, compile a list of all inaccurate information for each report. Each credit bureau will usually send you information on challenging report information, and often you can do this online or by sending each bureau a signed letter stating what you believe is wrong about your report. The credit bureau may then be required by law to complete an investigation into your claims. If the credit bureau finds that its reporting was in error, it will remove the information.
When negative information is removed from your credit report or positive information is added, your credit score should generally be recalculated. If you notice that there is no change in your credit score even when there are significant changes to your credit report, contact the credit bureau and explain that you want to dispute a credit score because you believe it is not being updated along with your credit information. The bureau may be able to determine if there is an error in its systems that is holding up the change.