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Why accuracy on your credit report matters

Getting into debt brings a slew of problems, from debt collectors harassing you to having to file for bankruptcy. You may have done your research on how to rebuild your credit, but have you considered if your credit report is accurate in the first place?

Incorrect information causes more harm to your situation. Understanding your rights is the first step in protecting them.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The FCRA outlines the rights you have in your relationship with consumer reporting agencies. These rights include:

  • Accessing the information in your file
  • Obtaining a credit score
  • Limiting others' access to and use of your information
  • Knowing when your file affects employment, credit approval, insurance, etc.
  • Disputing inaccurate information

You also have the right to sue anyone who violates the FCRA.

Why the FCRA matters

Inaccuracies are not small matters you can clear up with a simple phone call or email. In fact, you may not even be aware of errors if you do not review your credit report often. An example of a mistake to look for is the inclusion of discharged or paid debts. If these stay on your file, then you may continue to receive calls from debt collectors, see a drop in your credit score and face challenges in obtaining loans or low interest rates. These setbacks will make it harder for you to start over financially. It is important to note that violations do not only happen to those who are or have been in severe debt. They can happen to any consumer.

What to do about inaccuracies

If you find wrong or incomplete information in your report, you can take action to fix it. Notify the reporting agency of your dispute, and it will have to investigate or the information in question automatically goes away. If the agency insists you are wrong, you may be able to sue.

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