Does Disputing My Credit Reports Hurt My Credit Score?
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Our credit scores are essential whether we like to admit it or not. Having bad credit can make us want to put our heads in the sand and ignore the problem. Thankfully, we offer ways to help restore your credit to a quality, beneficial level.
Credit scores are also comprehensive things. With so many different reporting bureaus out there and a number of factors that have an impact on our scores, it can feel infinitely complicated to even have to deal with them.
Believe it or not, your credit reports can have inaccuracies to them. Perhaps something was mistakenly reported or an account that has been paid off has not been updated. When this happens, it can be frustrating.
After all, we trust these reports to provide accurate information on our credit histories. An inaccuracy can result in a lowered score, a higher interest rate, or being declined for a credit line altogether.
For this reason, it is important to frequently check your credit report. Take note of anything that doesn’t quite look right and try to stay on top of it. If that inaccurate report is allowed to persist, it could potentially play havoc on your credit score and unfairly so.
The good thing is that if you happen to notice any inaccuracies with your credit report, you can dispute it through the reporting bureaus. But keep in mind that the process is not as simple as it seems and there is much more to disputing a report than meets the eye.
Does it Hurt My Credit to Dispute a Report?
The short answer is “no”. You can challenge anything on your report and it won’t technically hurt your score to do so. This is a right granted to all credit holders and is something that anyone can do if they feel that there is an inaccuracy on their credit report.
And while it will not negatively impact your credit standing to dispute a charge that you think is incorrect, there are factors to keep in mind. The first is that the company you are disputing may add a note to your account that there is currently a dispute.
This isn’t necessarily a big deal in and of itself because, again, it can’t negatively impact your credit score. But there are caveats to that note. If you are in the process of applying through a lender and that note is there, they may require that the dispute be resolved before they will allow for the approval of a major purchase. This is for something such as an auto loan or a mortgage so keep that in mind before you apply for a huge purchase.
Make sure that you talk to the company in question and be absolutely certain that you understand the entire process when it comes to disputing any charges that may be on your account. Also, be aware of how that dispute will be reflected on your credit reports if it is at all.
For instance, there are some cases where you might be expected to make continued payments on the amount that you are disputing as those charges are under investigation. Failing to pay those charges, even if they are in dispute, can result in your account turning up as delinquent. This would then have an impact on your recent credit history and your scores at large.
As unfair as this seems, it is the reality. Any late payments that you make will remain on your credit report for seven years beginning with the date of the original delinquency. Like it or not, the system is what it is and a dispute may indirectly result in those negative impacts to your credit report.
It Is Still a Good Thing to Dispute Charges
Don’t let the last few paragraphs dissuade you from submitting a dispute. If there are inaccuracies on your report, those could be damaging in their own right. So disputing those inaccuracies is something that you should absolutely do.
Just be aware of the policies of the company that you are disputing. It might not be fair or enjoyable to have to pay an account that is in dispute but it can save you from potential delinquent payments showing up on your credit report.
By taking the measures beforehand to know the policies, you can keep yourself from any unexpected surprises. And surprises are the last thing that you want when it comes to your credit report because they will stay around for a long, long time.
Also, it is beneficial that you present all available evidence for your dispute. Screenshots, bank statements, billing statements, and anything else that can be helpful to your case are a good idea to present.
Leave no stone unturned and make it clear that you are in the right. These companies will fight your dispute because it costs them money and that is the last thing that they want, whether it is fair to you or not.
I Filed a Dispute and Now My Account Is Delinquent. What Now?
Let’s say that you ended up filing a dispute and didn’t realize that you were expected to continue making payments even while the dispute was open. Now you have a delinquent mark against your credit that will be there for the next seven years.
While that isn’t a good thing to have to deal with, it is also not the end of the world. The first thing that you can do is to dispute that delinquent payment. It might not be the best possible solution to the problem but if you feel that the original dispute was valid, it (in theory) shouldn’t make having to pay that amount valid either.
Just keep in mind that credit reports don’t necessarily operate on “fair” and that you could just be exacerbating the problem. It cannot be reiterated enough to know the policy for disputes for the company that you are disputing.
If a dispute isn’t the route that you want to go, there is one route to take: don’t let it happen again. Make sure that you don’t miss any other payments or have any other negative marks on your credit. That one late charge will not ruin your credit even if it is not ideal to have on your report.
Your credit report has far more to it than just one mark. It may keep you from achieving an 850 credit score (the highest possible) but it shouldn’t do very much damage over time and will eventually drop off of your report.
It is also important to keep in mind that in situations such as these, no one is your friend. The company that you are disputing wants you to pay money to them and the credit reporting bureaus are neutral parties that are just reporting information as it comes to them.
Don’t assume that the company you are disputing will be fair or will understand your particular situation. Cover your bases with all of the information that you can dig up about that particular dispute to give yourself the best possible chance to win a resolution.
The Impacts of Negative Remarks on Your Credit Report
Whether they are justified or not, having those negative marks on your credit report can have serious detrimental impacts if they begin to add up. Even having a couple of negative marks on your credit report can begin to take a toll on your credit score overall.
While this total will vary depending on the reporting bureau, it is enough that keeping an eye on your reports is something that should be done on a regular basis.
It may seem to be overkill but your credit score is serious business. A quality credit score is needed for many of the major purchases in your life and even other areas that you may not have realized. In addition to loans such as car loans, student loans, and mortgages, a bad credit report can impact your ability to get credit cards, rent an apartment, or even get a job.
Letting negative remarks, particularly those that you don’t feel are just, persist on your credit report can only do damage to the report over time and make it more difficult for you to obtain financing for the major purchases in your life.
Even if those negative remarks don’t fully hinder you from getting approval for those things, they can mean that your score lowers and you get charged higher interest rates than you would have with a better score.
Higher interest rates mean more money out of your pocket over the life of any loan and will also mean that it takes longer to pay back those loans. It is the kind of thing that no one wants to deal with and it can be potentially avoided by keeping a watchful eye on your credit report.
Know the policies and be diligent when disputing reports to your credit account. Doing so can save you a lot of money in the long run.
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