Your credit report is an essential aspect of your financial profile, and it’s critical to dispute any errors you find on your credit report as early as possible. You can dispute your credit report by mailing or submitting the necessary documentation to Equifax, one of Canada’s two major credit bureaus; the other credit bureau is TransUnion. These bureaus are required to keep correct details on your credit report and resolve any disputes.
Your credit score may suffer due to errors in your credit report. This is because your credit score is calculated using the information on your Equifax credit report. It will worsen if there are inaccuracies in your report, and you may have difficulty obtaining extra credit or qualifying for loans in the future.
Before submitting a credit report dispute, collect as much information as possible. You should also note that your credit report from each bureau may differ. And if your Equifax credit reports include inaccuracies, you must file a complaint with both agencies.
Typical mistakes found on an Equifax credit report
You should keep an eye out or be on the lookout for various mistakes that can be present in your credit report. It’s essential to learn how to interpret your credit report so that you can figure out which portions to focus on.
Here are some common credit report mistakes to be aware of:
- Inaccurate personal details, such as a wrong name, phone number, postal address, or birth date
- Invalid payment statuses, such as on-time transactions for credit cards or loans being reported as late
- Closed accounts being shown as open
- Multiple account entries, especially for overdue or collections accounts
- Longer than seven-year negative credit records, such as delinquencies and consumer proposals
- Accounts that belong to someone else having the same name as you
- Incorrect accounts assigned to you as a result of identity theft
If you believe your credit report possesses any of these mistakes, file a complaint with the credit bureaus as quickly as possible. You have the right to protest hard credit checks, erroneous payment histories, and any issues indicated above.
Below are the several steps you need to follow when submitting a dispute with Equifax and TransUnion if you detect an inaccuracy on your credit report.
Documents you need to correct a dispute on your Equifax credit report
You’ll need to supply some documents when you register a dispute. What you’ll have to provide will be determined by the facts you’re disputing. Here are some instances of papers that Equifax may require copies of throughout their investigation:
- One form of government-issued identification, like your social insurance number (SIN) or driver’s license, that states your name, birth date, and/or address.
- Your birth certificate.
- A document proving your address and phone number, like a utility bill.
- Correspondence from a creditor backing your statement
- Confirmation that an account was opened through or affected by the theft of one’s identity.
- Release letters from lenders, collection agencies, or fulfillment of judgments.
- Bankruptcy clearance or other court records.
If available, you should also use the Equifax unique identifier given on your Equifax credit report when registering a dispute.
How can you resolve a dispute?
You can submit a complaint to correct a dispute for free. You have two choices for submitting a dispute form and supporting documentation if you see information on your Equifax credit report that you consider is erroneous or incomplete: digitally or through regular mail.
Filing a credit dispute online
The first thing to do is fill out the online form. You can start an online dispute with Equifax by giving your full name, email address, phone number, and reason for the dispute. After submitting this initial form, you will receive emails confirming the creation of a ticket.
Then, you’ll then need to fill out an online Consumer Credit Report Update Form. This form will ask for personally identifiable information, public record details, credit banking information, and your signature, depending on what you’re disputing. You’ll need to scan and upload the necessary paperwork as well.
To confirm your contact information, Equifax requires two pieces of documentation:
- One government-issued photo identification sucha as a passport or driver’s license
- One supplementary document such as phone bill, internet bill, or financial statement.
Filing a credit dispute by mail
Equifax can also receive a complete Consumer Credit Report Update Form and photocopies of all relevant identification documents and supporting papers by mail. Equifax used to offer fax support, but that service is no longer offered.
Credit dispute results
Equifax will notify you of the inquiry’s conclusion once the investigation has been completed. If you lodged a digital complaint, you would receive the findings via email. Your results will be sent to you if you printed and submitted your dispute documentation.
What will happen once the complaint is filed?
Equifax will review and compare the information. If their original investigation fails to resolve the problem, they will approach the source of information to validate its correctness. If the source informs Equifax that the information is false or missing, the source will send the revised data to Equifax, which will make the required modifications to your Equifax credit file.
Equifax will not modify your Equifax credit file unless the source verifies that the information is accurate. In either scenario, you can submit a statement to your Equifax credit file stating any concerns you have in 400 words or fewer. Anyone who has access to your Equifax account will see this statement.
If Equifax makes changes to your credit file in response to your request, you will receive an altered credit report. At your request, Equifax will provide the updated credit report to any borrowers, creditors, or other intermediaries that accessed your credit report within 60 days of the modification.
After you’ve successfully filed your dispute paperwork, you can expect to get the following:
If Equifax can make adjustments to your credit report based on the information you provided, it will do so immediately. Otherwise, Equifax will notify the company that provided us with the information to double-check the integrity of the information you’re contesting. If you submit your dispute electronically, it will be reviewed in 10-15 days, and if you submit it by mail, it will take 15-20 days.
After their investigation is completed, you will receive a confirmation letter or email with the investigation’s conclusions and outcome. Equifax will notify you if further information is required to conclude its investigation. They might send you an email if you lodged your claim electronically and may send you a letter if you sent in your dispute via post.
What steps do credit bureaus take to correct your credit report?
When the agencies get your request, they will normally compare your information to what they already have on file. They might be able to fix the mistakes without doing any further research. If they are unable to remedy the problem at this time, they will do the following:
- If it is determined that the information on your report is erroneous, the agency will make the necessary changes.
- The agency will not update your report if the information is discovered to be accurate.
Within 30 days, the credit agency will send you a formal response describing the steps it took to fix information inaccuracies or certify that the information provided was accurate. If the credit agency changes your credit report during the investigation, it will send you an updated copy.
Should you start a credit dispute with Equifax?
Any inaccuracies on your credit report should be corrected as quickly as possible, as they might affect your general creditworthiness. And if you find an inaccuracy on your Equifax credit report, you should file a dispute with the proper bureau right away. While contesting errors on your credit report can be a time-consuming procedure, it can be a practical approach to enhance your credit score.
Based on how quickly any errors on your credit report are fixed, your credit score could improve in a matter of months. But before applying for a credit card, loan, or mortgage, make sure your credit score hasn’t been harmed by a mistake. You can do this by checking your report frequently.
Frequently asked questions about starting an Equifax credit report dispute
What is the best way to add a statement to my Equifax credit report?
If you dispute an item and the inquiry does not settle the issue, you have the liberty to add a free statement to your credit file by stating the basis of your complaint. The document needs to be 400 words or fewer. If your statement is shorter than 400 words, it will be posted to your credit profile and appear every time your credit report is accessed.
Please send your complaint, along with your name, location, date of birth, and mobile number, to Equifax in writing. You shall also have to submit photocopies of two pieces of proof of identification. It’s also beneficial to have the Equifax unique identifier from your credit report.
What if my dispute is with a creditor?
If you want to file a disagreement with a company directly, they will investigate and provide you with the results of their inquiry. They’ll let Equifax know if any adjustments to the credit report need to be made as a consequence of the investigation.
Is there anything I can’t modify on my Equifax credit report?
You can correct errors, but you won’t be able to change what is accurate on your credit report. In fact, you can only delete incorrect information from your credit report, and you can’t ask for negative but accurate information to be removed from your credit report because it’s damaging your credit score.
The majority of “bad” material on your report can stay on your record for up to six years. In fact, missed payments, judgments, and collection accounts can appear on your credit report for up to six years after they’ve been recorded. Similarly, bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for up to 14 years.The silver lining here is that negative information of this nature loses its power over time.
How much time does the the information from my Equifax credit file stay on my credit report?
Various types of information might stay on your Equifax credit report for different amounts of time.
Inquiries about your credit history
A query on a credit file will be automatically deleted three years after it was initiated.
Bank account information and credit history
Negative account information from chequing or savings accounts will be automatically deleted six years after it was reported.
Services for credit counseling
If you sign up for a debt management program (DMP) with a debt settlement organization, your personally identifiable information will be automatically removed from your file two years after the DMP is fully paid or six years after the DMP began, whichever comes first.
Voluntary deposit – orderly payment of debts – registered consumer proposal
A certified consumer proposal, voluntary deposit, or orderly settlement of debts is deleted three years after it is paid or six years after it is lodged, whichever comes first.
In the case of a single bankruptcy, the bankruptcy will purge the records six years from the clearance date. If a consumer files several bankruptcy petitions, each one will be kept on file for fourteen years from the date of discharge. All accounts included in a bankruptcy stay on file under the designation “included in bankruptcy” and will be deleted six years after the last activity date.
A judgment will be automatically removed from the file six years after filing.
Public records collecting accounts will be automatically deleted after six years of inactivity.
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About The Author: Arthur Dubois
Passionate about personal finance and financial technology, Arthur Dubois is a writer and SEO specialist at Hardbacon. Since his arrival in Canada, he’s built his credit score from nothing.
Arthur invests in the stock market but doesn’t pay any fees because he uses National Bank Direct Brokerage online broker and Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor. He pays for his subscriptions online with his KOHO prepaid card, and uses his Tangerine credit card for most of his in-store purchases. When he buys bitcoins, it’s with the BitBuy online platform. Of course it goes without saying that he uses the Hardbacon app so that he can manage all of his finances from one convenient place.
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