Consumer Reports: Credit score problems

Consumer Reports: Credit score problems

That critical number—your credit score—is based on your credit reports, yet a Consumer Reports’ survey finds close to half of Americans never check to make sure their credit reports are accurate and errors are surprisingly common.

A Consumer Reports survey of 3,000 Americans found 20 percent found mistakes that could lower their credit scores. Mistakes can lead to losing out on a job, on an apartment rental or on a good interest rate on a loan.

For instance, on a $300,000 30-year fixed mortgage, if your credit score drops 100 points from a good 780 down to an okay 680, you’ll pay almost $25,000 more during the life of the loan.

It’s not so easy fixing a credit report error. More than half of the people in Consumer Reports’ survey who tried were either rejected, ignored or faced some other roadblock.
To dispute a credit report, first tip: avoid companies that promise to fix your credit for a price. Put your request in writing to one or more of the three major credit-reporting agencies, Experian, Transunion and Equifax. Be sure to include proof of your identity and your full Social Security number.

For serious errors, Consumer Reports also says you may have to resort to hiring a lawyer.

Remember to check your credit report regularly, which you can do free at once a year with each of the three major credit bureaus.