The credit bureaus currently compile, sort, and sell credit data on over 200 million Americans. Before this data is compiled by the credit bureaus it has to be generated by countless creditors such as credit card companies, auto loan, and mortgage servicers. Each of these creditors has their own system of processing and recording your payments. The amount of data being managed is staggering. It is not surprising that there are errors made.
Credit Reporting Errors are Common
Over seventy percent of all credit reports contain errors. It is easy for the credit bureaus to make mistakes. But there are also significant errors that are generated by the creditors themselves. From the initial data entry that is done by human hand, to the software that sorts and manages that data it’s a long distance from the check that you write to pay your bill to the notation of that payment on your credit report!
Does it Matter?
Even if you have perfect credit there is a very high probability that your credit report contains errors. Errors such as accounts that do not belong to you, understated high credit limits, and even derogatory information often go unnoticed. And if these errors have no impact on your life it may not really matter. But if you have had credit problems in the past the entire picture changes.
When it Matters
If you have had credit problems in the past the likelihood that your credit report will contain errors is considerably higher than it would be if your credit were perfect. This is an unfortunate reality that occurs for several reasons. Creditors manage derogatory accounts differently than normal on-time accounts. Once you are out of the normal reporting stream errors tend to multiply. Creditors frequently assign different account numbers to problem accounts. This often results in duplicate accounts as well as the inaccurate reporting of payment history.
A Terrible Cost
Errors on the reports of people who have had previous credit issues are potentially very costly. In many cases these consumers have marginal credit scores to begin with. The presence of errors may easily drop these individuals into a lower credit class. This situation occurs in a horrible number of cases and is terribly unjust. Consider the case of someone who has had credit issues in the past and is now trying to improve and rebuilt their credit. In addition to the legitimate derogatory information that appears on their credit report they are likely to be burdened with reporting errors that seriously overstate their poor credit history. These errors in turn drive their credit scores lower that they would otherwise be.
A Widespread Problem
When this person applies for a loan they end up paying a premium interest rate. Higher interest rates translate into higher payments. This situation may easily impact not only the revolving accounts that they apply for but their auto loans and their mortgage as well. Adding it all up these credit reporting errors create an untenable and unjust situation for the very consumers that can least afford it. These are not abstract thoughts. We have been helping people with credit repair for a long time and have seen thousands whose lives have been affected in exactly this way.
No Easy Fix
Is there a remedy? Consider again the monumental amount of data that is being managed by the credit bureaus in the process of generating credit reports. And consider also the number of diverse creditors each with their own data management systems all of whom have to interface with the credit bureaus in this process. It is likely that the presence of reporting errors will continue to effect consumers for a long time to come.
What can be done? Both the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Acts deal directly with the seriousness of the problem. The onus has been placed on the credit bureaus to report as accurately as possible. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act requires the credit bureaus to provide one free credit report per year to consumers specifically for the purpose of allowing consumers to pro-actively monitor their reports for errors.
Can You Do This Yourself?
You can undertake the process of credit repair on your own. It is important that you educate yourself. There is ample information available on the internet. Take your time and do your homework. Without being fully aware of proper methods your efforts are almost guaranteed to result in frustration. As an option you should consider hiring a reputable credit repair company to do this work for you. Legitimate credit repair companies are very affordable and are experts in the process. Consider your options. Take action. With the right efforts these issues can be managed.
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