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Back to Your Credit Report

Taking Control of Your Credit Report

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A calculator on top of a form that says "Your Credit Report."

It's a smart personal policy to check your credit report once a year and correct any errors.

There are several reasons errors may appear on your credit report:

  • You have been mistaken for another person with a similar name and their information ends up in your file.
  • Information reported may have had data errors.
  • You may be a victim of fraud or identity theft.

There are 3 national credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. You may request a free copy of your credit report from each bureau once every 12 months. You also have the right to a free copy if you were denied credit within the last 60 days.

If you do not recognize information on your credit report, or believe an item may be inaccurate, you may request a no-cost investigation of the data and correction of any discrepancies. Credit bureaus will investigate the error and respond to you within 30 business days. You should also report the error to the creditor.

Duration of negative information

Only inaccurate information may be removed from your credit report. Accurate negative information remains in your file for the period allowed by law:

  • Unpaid liens – 15 years
  • Bankruptcies – 10 years
  • Other negative information – 7 years

You may include a 100-word explanation of any circumstances that led to the negative information, such as the loss of a job or illness.

Credit repair

Only time can restore your credit history. Avoid companies that offer quick credit fixes. More than a few credit repair companies have been sued for falsely promising to remove bad information from credit reports.

If you're looking for personalized and confidential counseling, chat with our partners, GreenPath Financial Wellness. Together with their certified counselors, they'll help you make a plan to pay off debt and get you back on your feet.

Savings services from VACU can help you prepare for your long-term plans — or an unexpected expense.