How to Dispute Credit Report Information

An error in your credit report can affect your credit score negatively, lowering your chances of being considered for most financial assistance.

As a consumer, you have the right to challenge any information in your credit report that you believe to be incorrect.

You can check the accuracy of the information in your credit report through the major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Compuscan, Experian, Xpert Decision System, and Consume Profile Bureau. They all offer a free credit report once a year.

If you have identified incorrect information in your credit report, you should report it immediately.

Here is a guide on how you can go about disputing information on your credit report, how to successfully track your dispute status, and what to do when you are in disagreement with the dispute outcome.

The most common credit report problems

  • Payments reflecting as of late payments while you know you have always paid in time and in full.
  • Incorrect personal information (name, address, Id number).
  • A credit you know never opened and know nothing about.
  • A paid account appears unpaid.

If you have identified any of the above issues, then you may lodge a complaint. When looking at the credit bureaus, the process of disputing credit report information is similar, however, in this article, we will focus mainly on how to submit your dispute through TransUnion and Experian.

How to dispute credit through TransUnion

Before you submit your dispute, you will have to make sure that you have gathered all your supporting documents, including your ID and proof of address, this will serve as proof that the disputed information should be removed.

You will have to go through the following process to submit your dispute:

  • Calling TransUnion call centre on 086 188 6466 or submit online at www.transunion.co.za.
  • Submitting your dispute within 3 months of receiving your credit report.
  • Completing the challenge form and submitting it.
  • Following your submission, an agent will contact you and give you your reference number.
  • Your complaint will be investigated, and you will get a response within 20 working days.

How to dispute credit through Experian

You can dispute information on your credit report through Experian using either of the following methods:

By phone/email: You can contact Experian by dialing 0861 10 56 65 or sending an email to [email protected], and a call centre agent will assist you accordingly.

Online: You can submit your dispute on their Dispute Centre free of charge.

Given the two methods, the quickest and easiest way to dispute your report from Experian is by submitting your correction through the online Dispute Centre.

After accessing your report and reviewing it, you may check under the “Potentially Negative” section to view the information that could be incorrect and affect your credit report.

If you find any accurate information, you may follow the following steps to submit your dispute online:

  1. Click on the dispute centre page to view the details of the dispute process. Read through the information and click “start a new dispute” to view your report and choose the entry you would like to dispute.
  2. Select the reason for each dispute from the dropdown box. You might need to explain in writing or attach your supporting documents.
  3. Review and submit your dispute. Check thoroughly that you have done everything that is required for your dispute. After clicking on submit a confirmation page will open with an upload link to use to submit your scanned supporting documents.
  4. Experian will then communicate with you via email when your dispute has been opened and also update you on the progress throughout the whole process. Your dispute will be resolved within 30 working days and once done, your results will also be available in the completed section of the Dispute Centre.

Note that Experian will contact the data furnishers (e.g., credit card issuer or bank) when necessary to verify the information you are disputing. If any of the information is deemed correct by the original source, then such cannot be removed from your credit report.

What to do when you disagree with the dispute outcome

If your dispute has been completed and you are still in disagreement with the results here is what you will need to do:

The first step is to contact the entity that provided the disputed information to the credit bureaus and provide proof that their information is not accurate. The source may be a financial institution that offered you a loan or a collection agency. The contact details of each source are on your credit report, you may use that to get in touch with them and enquire.

You will have to make a statement explaining why you believe that the information in your credit report is incorrect. This statement will appear with your report whenever it is accessed for the review or application process. With Experian, you can submit the statement through the Dispute Centre.

You can still submit the dispute with all the relevant information that will substantiate your claim.

And if you are still not satisfied, you may contact the Credit Information Ombud who will then investigate further and assist in resolving the conflict.

In conclusion…

A credit report is not meant to only help you keep track of your credit reputation, it can assist you with protecting your personal information against identity fraud.

Remember to regularly check your credit report. This will help you maintain a great credit score and be well aware of any changes in time. You can check your report on a monthly basis free of charge through different platforms such as ClearScore. Learn more about Where to Get a Free Credit Report in South Africa.

If your credit score has been suffering, you might want to start looking at various ways to improve it. This will better your chances of being considered for credit by potential credit providers.

Key takeaways

1. Identify the error and make sure it is indeed an error before you lodge a dispute. You can double check with the above-mentioned credit bureaus.

2. Decide on a reporting method. Online is best for simple fixes and for more complex report disputes, the postal service and email works best.

3. Be as detailed as possible and attach all the necessary supporting documents to your dispute.

4. Know your rights as a consumer. The National Credit Regulator is there to protect you.