Fact: All consumers should be diligent about checking their credit report for errors regardless of their credit score or if they always pay their bills on time. It is especially important to check your credit report after a name change or address change. You can obtain a free copy of your credit reports once a year from each of the three national credit reporting companies at annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
Each of the three major credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — has a system in place for addressing errors contained in consumer credit files. Consumers should contact the company that provided the report in question.
Checking your credit report for errors does not impact your credit score.
Fact: Errors contribute to inconsistencies, but there may be several reasons scores differ amongst the three national credit reporting companies. One contributing factor is that some credit scores use separate models for each of the three credit reporting companies, which can contribute to the result where a consumer receives three different credit scores – or what we call score inconsistency.
The VantageScore model uses patented and patent-pending technologies that allow the same model to be used at all three national credit reporting companies to ensure that any score differences for the same consumer are attributable to content differences in the consumer’s files, not the scoring algorithm.
Another factor is that the credit data is provided to each of the national credit bureaus on different timeframes and every piece of data is not provided to all three national credit bureaus. As a result, even if the data is completely accurate and you received a VantageScore credit score, which is the same model applied to each national credit bureaus’ data, it might not be the same exact credit score.
Fact: You are encouraged to regularly check your credit report; disputing any record in the report will not lower your credit score. Checking your credit report is considered a “soft inquiry” and is not a factor in your credit score. In fact, if you successfully remove inaccurate information, your credit score may actually get better.
Everyone has the right to obtain their credit report for free through the website www.annualcreditreport.com. This website will also provide instructions for how to make corrections to any errors on your credit report.