Certain pieces of information cannot be contained in a credit report. This includes the following:
• Medical information
• Bankruptcies more than 20 years old
• Debts more than 7 years old
• Marital status, race or religion
What to Do When You Receive Your Credit Report
When you receive your credit record, you should go over it carefully section by section to see if everything that is recorded there is correct.
1. Check the personal information that is provided. Ensure that all of this is correct including past addresses and employers. A discrepancy in this information may mean that someone has falsely used your name to obtain credit.
2. Check all open accounts to ensure that these are actually the debts you currently have. Check the balances against your own records as well as any missed or late payments. This is why it is important to keep all records of payments that you have made.
3. Check the closed accounts to ensure that these accounts were ones that were held by you.
4. Check the names of those who have made inquiries about your credit report. If you wish, you can even mark next to them the reason you were applying for the loan or credit.
Checking these four sections will ensure that there are no discrepancies in the report and it is an actual statement of your debts.
If you really want to ensure that you have an accurate credit record, you should obtain a copy from each of the three CRAs or a merged report from a reputable online company.
If you find any discrepancies, you should report them immediately. You may have been mistaken for another person, or someone may have fraudulently used your identity for the purposes of obtaining money or goods with no intention or repaying it.
Both federal and state/provincial laws provide you with the right to have any errors in your credit report corrected. You can contact one of the CRAs to get information on how to go about correcting the misinformation. The CRA will investigate your claim and they have 30 days in which to do this. Therefore, you are assured that you will not have to wait for a long period of time to get results. If your claims are validated, then a correction will be made. In addition, if the CRA cannot verify the negative information that is in your report, it will be deleted from your file. In the case of corrections or deletions, you can ask the CRA to send you a new copy of your report as well as ask them to send the report to anyone who has made a request within the last two years.
If you disagree with the results of the CRA investigation, you have the right to submit a 100-word explanation in which you explain the reasoning behind your dispute of the negative information. Although this will not remove the negative information from your file, the credit bureau will include your explanation in the file, so that any future requests will also receive the reasons you put forth. This explanation has to be one that attempts to clarify inaccuracies. It is not to be used to explain why you were late with payments or missed payments.
If there are errors that are supposed to have been corrected, you should check your report to make sure that the corrections have indeed been made. There have been instances where the incorrect information remains in a file, even after it was supposed to have been deleted or corrected.