The Basics of the Credit Dispute to Increase Your Score

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Other than waiting years for things to “fall off” your credit, the method that has proven results to remove inaccurate or unverifiable information from your credit report and increase your credit score quickly is with the credit dispute process.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows individuals the right to dispute any items on their credit reports that are incomplete, inaccurate, unverifiable or untimely.

[You can read more about the Fair Credit Report Act here.]

If those items cannot be verified they must be removed. This is the basis of all credit fixes and repair. This is what “credit repair” companies do. I will admit, this practice can be a little frustrating, but it is designed to be that way.

However, if you stick with the process, you will ultimately be successful in improving your credit.

The Basic Round 1 Letter

A Round 1 letter is sent to the bureau(s). It can be about several items, but never more than 5 (never dispute more than 5 items in a 30 day period).

A Round 2 (or higher) letter is always about just 1 item and it can be written to either a bureau or a creditor.

Within 30-35 days of sending your initial dispute letter, you will hear back from the credit bureau with the result of your request. The response will be either:

  • that your dispute has been confirmed and the item has been deleted or revised
  • that the item was confirmed and will remain on your credit report “as is”

If your first letter (Round 1) was successful:

If your dispute was confirmed and the bureau made the change you requested, Congratulations! Now start another Round 1 letter with the next batch of items (5 items or less) that you wish to dispute, if applicable.

If your first letter (Round 1) was not successful:

If you could not get the credit bureau to budge, send a Round 2 Letter to continue to affirm your dispute and request proof of verification.

If your first letter (Round 1) got no response at all:

You would send a non-response letters. (Contact me to request a copy.)

For best results:

– Send this first letter by Certified Mail.
– Include a copy of your government issued Photo ID (like your drivers license or passport) and proof of address (like a utility or insurance bill).
– Enclose a copy of the credit report containing the items you are disputing. It may also help to circle the items.
– Also include copies (not originals) of any paperwork you may have that validates your claims.


Here’s copy for a basic, Round 1 letter

Full name
Address
City, State Zip
Phone
Date of Birth
Social Security Number

Previous address (if at current address for less than 2 years)

Bureau name (Equifax, Experian or Transunion)
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Re: Letter to Remove Inaccurate Credit Information: Report # {report_number}

To Whom It May Concern:

I received a copy of my credit report and found the following item(s) to be errors. See the attached copy of my credit report; the errors have been highlighted. Here as follows are items in errors:

Creditor
Account number (Example XXXXX1234)
(Reason for the dispute)
(Instructions of what you’d like the bureau to do)
(You can include up to 5 items like this)

According to the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I demand that these items be investigated and removed from my report. It is my understanding that you will recheck these items with the creditor who has posted them. Please remove any information that the creditor cannot verify. I understand that under 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681i(a), you must complete this reinvestigation within 30 days of receipt of this letter.

Please send an updated copy of my credit report to the above address. According to the act, there shall be no charge for this updated report. I also request that you please send notices of corrections to anyone who received my credit report in the past six months.

Thank you for your time and help in this matter.

Sincerely,
Your Full Name

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About Dana Ash-McGinty 166 Articles
Dana Ash-McGinty is the Principal Broker of ASH | MCGINTY, a Washington, DC Real Estate Brokerage. This real estate maven has 15+ years experience in residential, commercial and land sales in addition to multi-state residential renovation, re-zoning, and condo conversion projects. A sought after real estate authority, she has been featured on CNN and in various real estate and financial publications. Dana is married to the highly esteemed Dr. Dana W. McGinty, a Washington, DC based internal medicine physician. They are often referred to as "The Danas".

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