Credit Dispute Resolution

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on May 23, 2023

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What Is a Credit Dispute Resolution?

A credit dispute resolution is a process that allows individuals to correct errors and inaccuracies in their credit reports.

It involves identifying errors, initiating the dispute resolution process with the credit reporting agency and the creditor or furnisher of information, and tracking the progress of the dispute investigation.

Maintaining accurate credit reports is crucial for securing access to financial opportunities, and timely credit dispute resolution is essential for achieving this.

Understanding Credit Reports and Scores

Components of Credit Reports

Credit reports contain detailed information about an individual's credit history, including personal information, account details, credit inquiries, and public records.

They are compiled by credit reporting agencies (CRAs), such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Factors Influencing Credit Scores

Credit scores are numerical representations of a person's creditworthiness derived from the information in credit reports.

Key factors that impact credit scores include payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit accounts, and recent credit inquiries.

Common Errors in Credit Reports

Errors in credit reports can occur for various reasons, such as incorrect reporting by creditors or identity theft.

Common errors include incorrect personal information, unauthorized accounts or inquiries, duplicate accounts, and inaccurate payment history.

Identifying Credit Report Errors

Obtaining a Copy of Your Credit Report

To identify errors in your credit report, request a free copy from each of the three major CRAs annually. This can be done through the official website,

Reviewing Your Report for Inaccuracies

Once you have obtained your credit report, review it carefully for any errors or inconsistencies.

Types of Errors to Look For

Watch for incorrect personal information, unauthorized accounts, duplicate entries, and inaccurate payment history. Additionally, check for outdated information and discrepancies between reports from different CRAs.

Initiating the Credit Dispute Resolution Process

Contacting the Credit Reporting Agency

To initiate the dispute resolution process, contact the relevant CRA by submitting a dispute letter or filling out an online form. Clearly explain the error and provide any supporting documentation.

Include copies of documents that support your claim, such as account statements or proof of identity.

Contacting the Creditor or Furnisher of Information

Contact the creditor or furnisher of information directly to inform them of the error and request an update to your credit report.

Submit any relevant documentation to support your dispute.

Navigating the Dispute Investigation Process

Timeframe for Investigation and Response

CRAs are required to investigate disputes within 30 days, with some exceptions. Once the investigation is complete, they must notify you of the outcome.

Understanding the Investigation Process

During the investigation process, the CRA will contact the furnisher of the disputed information and request verification. The CRA must update or remove the disputed item if the furnisher cannot verify the information.

Tracking the Progress of Your Dispute

Monitor the status of your dispute by regularly checking with the CRA or using their online dispute tracking system.

Evaluating the Dispute Resolution Outcome

Successful Dispute Resolution

If your dispute is successful, the CRA will update your credit report and provide you with a free copy.

Correcting errors on your credit report may lead to an increase in your credit score.

Unsuccessful Dispute Resolution

If you believe the investigation outcome was incorrect, request a reinvestigation by providing additional information or documentation to support your claim.

If the dispute remains unresolved after a reinvestigation, you can add a statement of dispute to your credit report, explaining your perspective on the disputed information.

Tips for Maintaining Accurate Credit Reports

Regularly Monitoring Your Credit Report

Monitor your credit report regularly to identify any errors or inaccuracies as soon as they appear. Request a free copy of your report from each of the three major CRAs annually.

Establishing Good Financial Habits

Maintain good financial habits, such as paying bills on time, keeping credit card balances low, and managing your credit accounts responsibly.

Protecting Your Personal Information from Identity Theft

Take precautions to protect your personal information from identity theft. This includes creating strong passwords, using secure Wi-Fi connections, and being cautious with sharing personal information.

Legal Options for Unresolved Credit Disputes

Hiring a Credit Repair Organization

If you are unable to resolve your credit dispute, consider hiring a credit repair organization to help address the issue. However, be cautious and research the organization thoroughly, as some may engage in fraudulent practices.

Filing a Complaint With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

If you believe your dispute needs to be properly handled, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a government agency responsible for protecting consumers in the financial sector.

Seeking Legal Advice From a Consumer Law Attorney

Consult a consumer law attorney for legal advice and assistance in resolving complex credit disputes or those involving potential violations of consumer protection laws.

Legal Options for Unresolved Credit Disputes


Timely credit dispute resolution is crucial for maintaining accurate credit reports and ensuring access to financial opportunities.

By understanding the dispute resolution process, monitoring your credit report regularly, and addressing errors promptly, you can safeguard your financial health and secure your future opportunities.

To ensure that your financial needs are met, consider seeking the guidance of banks and credit unions professionals.

They can offer advice on a wide range of financial products and services, including checking and savings accounts, loans, and credit cards.

Credit Dispute Resolution FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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