More than a third of Americans say they have found at least one error in their credit report, according to a new study from Consumer Reports. The publication asked more than 5,800 study participants to get a copy of their credit report and check it for errors between Feb. 1 and April 1. A wide range of mistakes emerged.
For example, 29% of respondents uncovered errors with their personal information, while 11% found mistakes regarding their account information, which could damage their credit score, Syed Ejaz, a Consumer Reports policy analyst, told CNBC. “Unfortunately, folks sometimes find out [about these errors] way too late—when they are in the middle of getting a loan for a new house or car,” Ejaz said. “That is why it is really important to make sure you check your credit report and assess it for accuracy.”
The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the major credit reporting companies, has called the Consumer Reports investigation “completely false and misleading.” The CDIA claims the credit reporting industry has a 98% accuracy rate on credit profiles and cautioned against reading into the study’s conclusions because it’s based on a non-empirical survey of consumers.
Still, financial experts recommend that consumers frequently monitor their credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com. Credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are usually available for free once a year. However, the three firms are offering free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022.
Consumers should contact the reporting firms directly if they find any mistakes in their credit report. The Federal Trade Commission provides a sample letter you and your clients can send to credit bureaus to dispute errors.