Bottom Line Up Front
- Request your free credit report every year at annualcreditreport.com and review for any errors.
- Contact the credit bureau(s) and lender and provide supporting copies of your documents to correct any errors you may find.
- Use our Mission: Credit Confidence Dashboard to support you wherever you are in your credit journey.
Credit reports are meant to be an accurate summary of your borrowing and repayment history. But sometimes, mistakes are made. Considering how important your credit is, even a little detail on your report may have a big impact. Take charge of your report by knowing where errors commonly appear, why they appear and what to do about them.
Get Your Free Credit Report
You’re entitled, under federal law, to free copies of your credit report. You can request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the major credit bureaus (Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®). To access your report, go to annualcreditreport.com.
Common Credit Errors
Credit report errors usually fall into a few common groups. But take note: Errors and corrections aren’t shared between credit bureaus. You’ll want to separately request and correct information from all three of the major bureaus.
- Identity information is inaccurate. Mistakes can range from a typo in your address to a complete identity mix-up with somebody who shares a similar name. Always double-check your personal info to be sure it’s completely accurate.
- Account details are inaccurate. Sometimes, a lender gives a credit bureau wrong information, or the information gets processed incorrectly by the bureau. Be sure that your accounts are labeled correctly and appear as the types of accounts that they are. For example, if you closed an account, make sure it’s reported as closed.
- Accounts are listed that you don’t recognize. If your report contains account information you don’t recognize, it could mean someone has opened an account under your identity. To avoid this, you can set fraud alerts that require the business to verify your identity before it issues new credit in your name. In the event of possible fraud, request a credit freeze at each credit bureau. If you suspect fraud on your Navy Federal account, you can report it directly with us.
What to Do About Credit Errors
- Write both the credit bureau and the lender (such as a credit card company) if you find inaccurate information.
- Gather supporting copies of your documents and include them in your letter. These supporting documents may include an annotated copy of the portion of your credit report that contains the disputed items, documentation to verify your identity, copies of supporting documents that provide proof of the item's inaccuracy and more.
You can find detailed steps and examples of dispute letters from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Freezing Your Credit
A credit freeze—sometimes called a security freeze—prevents access to your credit report. This, in turn, prevents lenders from approving new accounts under your identity. Requesting a credit freeze is free by federal law and lasts until you remove it. You can freeze your credit on the websites of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Just keep in mind, if you plan on applying for a loan (like a mortgage), you may need to temporarily unfreeze your credit so the lender can review it with your application.
Improving or Establishing Credit?
Credit errors aren’t written in stone, and neither is your credit’s future. If you’re just starting to build your credit, or need to rebuild from some setbacks, Navy Federal Credit Union is here for you. Wherever you are in your credit journey, we’ll meet you there. Get tips and resources on building credit.