TransUnion is one of the three major credit bureaus in the country. The other two major credit reporting agencies are Equifax and Experian. Ideally, every adult should have a credit history but not everyone does. Again, ideally everyone should have a good credit score but a majority of the populace has an average or poor credit history.
It has become increasingly important for every citizen to be aware of their credit history. The three digit credit score influences eligibility for loans and credit cards. The credit history determines credit limits and interest rates. An applicant may be turned down if the credit score does not match the criterion for creditworthiness. This is not only applicable to banks and credit card companies but also in personal and professional considerations. For instance, landlords often check credit history of a prospective tenant before renting out their properties. Some companies conduct credit check at the time of hiring.
It is imperative for you to know your credit score, if it is accurate and if there are any errors. You must ensure that the credit history is up to date so every recent positive report is reflected in computing the score. You must also ensure there is no factually incorrect entry on your credit report. An outdated credit report or a credit history with incorrect entries can adversely affect your eligibility for loans, credit cards and other financial products or services.
TransUnion, Equifax and Experian have their own modus operandi of collecting information about your credit history from various sources. Banks, credit card companies, private lenders or financing companies and other entities are the primary sources of such information. All the information is compiled and assessed to determine your credit score from three hundred up to eight hundred and fifty. It is quite possible that some of the information obtained by TransUnion or the other two credit reporting agencies is completely wrong, partly inaccurate or disputable. You must address such errors, advertent or inadvertent. Just as these credit bureaus have different modus operandi, they also have different processes in place to address errors. This guide shall illustrate how to dispute an error with TransUnion.
Identify Errors in TransUnion Credit Report
A recent study had found that at least one in every five consumers has an error in their credit report. The same study found that around twenty percent of these consumers who successfully got the errors rectified had a review of their credit history and the credit score was increased. Hence, it is quintessential for you to spot an error or errors, if any, and you must successfully rectify them so your credit score can be reviewed. This can have a ripple effect for your finances. Here are the common errors that credit reporting agencies like TransUnion have committed over the years.
- There may be records of credits or loans that you may have never signed up for or have been approved for.
- Your credit report may have a misspelled name, wrong phone number or address and incorrect social security number.
- Some accounts may be wrongly mentioned as incorrect balance, incorrect credit limit, late, incorrect delinquency date and a closed account may be stated as open or one account may be listed twice or more.
- Your credit history may reveal transactions you have never done. This may be indicative of identity theft and possibly fraud. The sooner you spot such errors, the better it is as you can fix them and your credit score must be reviewed.
As per the provisions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, TransUnion and other credit bureaus are required to provide you a free credit report once every twelve months. Use this free report to find errors in your credit history.
Get a Free TransUnion Credit Report
There is a comprehensive guide available on the official website of TransUnion detailing how you can avail the free annual credit report. You can refer to https://www.transunion.com/annual-credit-report and read more about it here. Get the report and identify errors or at least know your credit score before you have to deal with a surprise while applying for a loan, buying a house or car, renting an apartment or applying for a job. You should be always cautious of possible identity theft, fraud, incorrect entries on your credit report and common errors so conduct a thorough assessment. You may even seek the expertise of a professional credit repair service if you are unsure of what to look for.
How to Dispute an Error with TransUnion
The first step is to contact TransUnion and report the error. You must have the relevant information handy when you get in touch with the credit bureau. There are three ways you can reach out to TransUnion. You can visit their official website and file a complaint online. You can send them a letter explaining everything. You can call them and file a complaint. It is better if you file a complaint online and send a letter. You can always call TransUnion and ask for help but registering a complaint or expecting to address the issue over the phone is not entirely pragmatic. You need documentation to support your claim and you will need a paper trail or some evidence of your attempts to address and rectify the errors in your credit report.
File an online complaint and send a letter by mail. Keep copies of these correspondences. In your letter or online complaint, you must highlight the error, explain the reason why you think it is a wrong entry and then provide the correct information. In some cases there may not be any correct information. For instance, if there is an entry of a transaction, credit or loan that you have not done, then such an entry must be simply removed from your credit report. More often than not, it is not just TransUnion or other credit reporting agencies but also some lender or a source that is partly accountable for the error. It is possible a bank, financial institution, lender, debt consolidation or settlement agency, a debt collection company or another entity has provided the inaccurate information to the credit bureau. If you are aware of this source of information or the entry, then you should contact that entity as well.
TransUnion has a period of thirty days to assess your complaint and determine whether or not your claim is valid. In other words, the agency should find out if the error is indeed a mistake and inaccurate entry or your claim is invalid and they are right. TransUnion must verify the information they have mentioned in your credit report. If they cannot do so, then the entry must be deleted or appropriate changes must be done. In some cases, accurate information is available that should replace the inaccurate entry. If TransUnion finds the entry to be correct and can verify it, then it would not delete the information and you would have to take further action. You would be asked to provide more documents supporting your claim that the entry is inaccurate or wrong. Should TransUnion not address your concerns or attend to your requests, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. You can also hire a credit repair service and let the professionals deal with TransUnion.
Required Documents to Validate your Claim
You will need to validate your claim but only if TransUnion does not accept there is an error. If the credit bureau accepts there is an inaccurate entry or some wrong information was obtained and filed in the credit history, then you need not provide any documentary evidence or other kinds of proof. If TransUnion rejects your request and does not alter the entry or delete it, then you will have to validate your claim. You would have to provide documents wherein your version is clearly proven and TransUnion is unable to turn down the veracity of your claim.
TransUnion prioritizes documentary evidence, especially in cases of possible identity theft and other serious matters. Depending on the nature of the error and how TransUnion responds to your request, you may need to submit police reports to establish identity theft or you can use the FTC identity theft report, those who have filed for bankruptcy and some accounts have been discharged would have to provide the schedule so the relevant information can be verified, letters having correct information of accounts from creditors can be useful, discharge letters for some types of loans are valid, cancelled checks in case of collection payments and court documents that are public records are also ways to validate your claim.
Some consumers choose to send the supporting documentary evidence with the first letter to prove their claims. This is an option but the burden of proof is initially on TransUnion and other credit reporting agencies, not on the consumer. Do not send original documents. Always send copies. You must ensure every correspondence with TransUnion is documented and the records must be kept till such time the issue is completely resolved. The correspondences should be dated and timed. Use certified mail to send the letter and other documents.
Online Dispute Resolution of TransUnion
You can create an account on the official website of TransUnion. You can file an online complaint and the credit bureau will begin an investigation. You can provide the supporting documentary evidence online. The online process is expedited since there is no mailing and the obvious delay. TransUnion usually responds to such online requests addressing disputes within thirty days. You can use the same account you have created to check the progress and if the issue has been resolved. You would get an email from TransUnion as they complete the investigation.
The only problem with this method of disputing an error with TransUnion is that everything happens through the website and there is no trail of correspondence at your end. You are not using your email or any such third party medium. You are on their website and you would have nothing but the notification emails. You cannot track the progress or keep a record of what is happening unless TransUnion sends you an email and gives you an update.
You may also call the customer service number 800-916-8800 of TransUnion on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. You must have the file identification number handy. You would find this in your credit report. You would also need to provide your present address, date of birth and social security number. You must provide other relevant information pertaining to the dispute. Since the entire correspondence is basically a conversation, there is sufficient chance of human errors in this process and it is better if you choose to send a letter by mail or file a complaint online.
Resolving a Dispute with TransUnion
You may have to dispute one error or more with TransUnion. Every error must be raised separately so you must file one complaint per wrong entry. The same wrong entry mentioned twice or more in the report can be addressed in the same complaint. If TransUnion does not get back to your in thirty days, you can follow up with them. Again, use certified mail so you have proof of the correspondence. If TransUnion rejects your claim, then you can add a rebuttal of not more than a hundred words to the report. This report is made available to the public so anyone accessing your credit score to determine your eligibility or while ascertaining the credit limit and rate of interest will see your rebuttal in the report.
You can resubmit a complaint or create a new request to address the same issue that did not lead to the resolution you wanted. As per the law, you can file as many complaints as you want but TransUnion would reject the same complaint filed again unless there is some new evidence or documentation. You should consider a credit repair service if you do not have a favorable experience while disputing an error with TransUnion.