How to Dispute Credit Report Information

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Experian, TransUnion and Equifax now offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.

It's important to regularly review your credit reports to make sure everything is accurate. If you notice an inaccuracy, you have the right to dispute the item on your credit report for free online, by phone or by mail. When the information appears on multiple credit reports, you may need to submit a dispute with each of the three consumer credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax).

Here's how to dispute credit report information, what you can and can't dispute, and what happens once you submit your dispute to the credit bureaus.

3 Ways to Dispute Information on Your Credit Report

The three most common ways to dispute information on your credit report are online, by mail or by phone. There isn't necessarily an advantage to one method over another, but filing disputes online may be the fastest and most convenient method. However, you might not be able to dispute certain information online, such as an incorrect name or address.

  • Online: Each credit bureau has its own online interface for submitting disputes. With Experian, you'll be asked to share some basic information about yourself or to sign into your Experian account and then go to the Dispute Center to start the process.
  • By mail: Download the dispute form from the credit bureau and follow its instructions for mailing your dispute: Here's a link to Experian's form and instructions. You may need to mail or separately upload copies of documents, such as a government-issued ID and recent utility bill, when disputing by mail.
  • By phone: You can also call the credit bureau to dispute information. If you call Experian, a dispute specialist will help walk you through the process and explain which documents you need to submit based on your dispute.
How to Dispute Credit Report Items
Experian TransUnion Equifax
Online Dispute website Dispute website Dispute website
Mail ExperianP.O. Box 4500Allen, TX 75013 TransUnion Consumer SolutionsP.O. Box 2000Chester, PA 19016-2000 Equifax Information Services LLCP.O. Box 740256Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
Phone 855-414-6048 800-916-8800 888-378-4329

What Can You Dispute on Your Credit Report?

You can dispute information on your credit report you believe is incorrect, including:

  • Late payments
  • Inaccurate balances and credit limits
  • Open accounts reported as closed

Note that certain items on your Experian credit report may not be disputable online. You may need to contact a dispute specialist over the phone to resolve inaccurate names, addresses or inquiries on your report.

Also, if you see items on your credit report that may be signs of identity theft—such as accounts that don't belong to you, unauthorized inquiries or addresses you don't recognize—you should report by phone or mail.

Learn more >> What Can't You Dispute on Your Credit Report?

How to Prepare to Submit a Dispute

To prepare to submit a dispute, start by reviewing your credit report to locate any information that you believe to be incorrect.

Next, gather supporting documents ahead of time to help avoid delays in resolving your dispute. Not all disputes require supporting documents, but you should include any that help back up your claim. Documents that may help to resolve your dispute include:

  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills
  • Name change documentation
  • Marriage or death certificates
  • Letters from creditors showing corrections
  • Police reports or Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Reports showing an account is the result of fraud

How to Dispute Credit Report Items Online With Experian

The quickest and easiest way to dispute your Experian credit report is to check your credit report online and submit corrections through the online Dispute Center.

Here are the steps to take to submit a dispute with Experian:

  1. Gather the necessary documents. Before you submit a dispute online, make sure you have any screenshots and documents ready to upload to argue your case.
  2. Start a new dispute in the Dispute Center. The Experian Dispute Center has lots of information about credit disputes, the process and what you can expect. You can click on "Start a new dispute" when you're ready to start. At that point you'll be asked to sign in to your existing membership or sign up for either an Experian Service Account or a free Experian membership.
  3. Review your credit report. Your Experian credit report is divided into sections in the Dispute Center: accounts (there may be subsections for different types of accounts and closed accounts), public records, personal information and inquiries. Find the section that contains the information you want to dispute.
  4. Choose the item to dispute. Select an account to review the account history and information, or choose a different item you believe is incorrect.
  5. Indicate the reason for the dispute. You can select the reason for each dispute from the dropdown box. Some entries may ask you to type in explanatory information or ask you to provide additional documentation. Certain disputes can't be processed online, and you'll be asked to call Experian instead.
  6. Review and submit the dispute. Double-check your dispute request, revise the details as needed and then click Submit. You'll see a confirmation page when the dispute is filed successfully, and an "Upload a document" link you can use to submit scanned pages to support your dispute. You can submit your documents through the Experian Dispute Center or by mail. (If you're disputing by mail, be sure to mail copies of your materials and keep all original documents for your records; you'll also need to send a copy of your government-issued ID.)

What Happens After You Submit Your Dispute?

After you've submitted a dispute, Experian goes to work to investigate and resolve the issue. For example, we may contact the company that reported the information to us—called the data furnisher—to share the documents you submitted and ask the furnisher to verify that their records are correct.

Disputes are generally resolved within 30 days, but may take up to 45 days if you submit additional documentation after the investigation begins. A dispute can lead to information being verified, updated or deleted.

Learn more >> How Long Do Credit Report Disputes Take?

How to Track Your Dispute Status

You can track the status of your dispute by logging in to your Experian account and going to the Alerts section. Experian can also send you alerts via email when there's a status update. These updates could include:

  • Open: When a new dispute is started.
  • Update: Your dispute investigation has been completed and your credit report is being updated with the results.
  • Dispute results ready: Your credit report has been updated with the results of the dispute investigation.

Possible Dispute Outcomes

When the dispute process is complete, Experian will display the outcome in your account's Alerts section. Here are possible outcomes you may see and what they mean.

Dispute Outcome What It Means
Added This item was added to your credit report
Updated The information you disputed has been updated on your credit report
Verified and updated The information you disputed has been verified as accurate; however, information unrelated to your dispute has been updated
Deleted The item was removed from your credit report
Processed The item was either updated or deleted
Remains The company reporting the information to Experian verified that it was accurate, so it wasn't changed

How Credit Report Disputes Affect Your Credit

Filing a dispute doesn't affect your credit scores. However, some credit scores might treat items in dispute differently, which could affect your scores while the dispute is being investigated.

If the dispute causes a change in your credit report, it might have a positive, negative or no effect on your scores.

  • Dispute outcomes that could improve your credit: Your scores could increase if negative information is removed, such as late payments, past-due accounts or collection accounts.
  • Dispute outcomes that could hurt your credit: Your scores could decrease when accounts are removed or updated. For example, if you dispute a credit card and it's removed from your credit report, that might shorten the length of your credit history or increase your credit utilization ratio.
  • Dispute outcomes that have no effect on your credit: If the dispute doesn't result in a change, then it won't impact your credit scores. Additionally, changes in some information, such as your personal information, won't affect your credit scores.

Learn More >>> What Affects Your Credit Scores?

What to Do if You Disagree With the Outcome of Your Dispute

If you don't agree with the results of your dispute, here are some additional steps you can take.

  • Contact the data furnisher. Contact the organization that originally provided the disputed information to Experian, such as a lender or card issuer, and show them proof that their records are incorrect. The contact information for each source appears on your credit report, and you can use it to reach out to them. If they verify your information, they should update the credit bureaus on whose reports the information appears.
  • Add a statement of dispute to your report. You have the right to request a credit bureau to add a statement of dispute explaining why you think the information is inaccurate. Organizations that request a copy of your credit report will see the statement. You can add these statements to your Experian credit report within the Dispute Center by selecting the account or item and clicking the "Add a statement" button.
  • Resubmit a dispute with additional documentation. Credit bureaus can dismiss a dispute as frivolous if you try to keep disputing the same item. However, if you have additional information or documentation to back up your dispute, you can try to dispute the item again and share the new documents.

Monitor Your Credit Reports for Changes

Correcting information in your credit reports is important, but you don't want to wait until you're in the midst of applying for a loan to review your reports. Instead, check your credit report for free from Experian—you can also get your other two credit reports for free from AnnualCreditReport.com. And use Experian's free credit monitoring to keep an eye on changes in your Experian credit report.