According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act the credit reporting agencies must employ reasonable procedures designed to ensure maximum possible accuracy of your credit files. That’s the standard. It’s not to maintain extraordinary procedures guaranteeing 100% accurate reports. Still, credit report errors do occur and when consumers notify the credit bureaus of possible mistakes they must perform an investigation and correct the item. The amount of time it takes to correct a credit report varies and can take as long as…
30 days – If you file a dispute with the credit bureaus they have 30 days to complete their investigation. This is the most common answer to the question, “how long do the credit bureaus have to correct my credit report?”
45 days – If you file a dispute with the credit bureaus and then provide supplemental information you’ll have provided them with an additional 15 days on top of the 30 days in order to complete their investigation.
A couple of days – If you file a dispute with the credit bureaus and the dispute happens to fall under the credit bureaus’ policies regarding non-investigation changes then your credit report can be updated/corrected within a few days. For example, if you wanted to modify an address or have an authorized user credit card account removed, the credit bureaus could make that change without the need for 3rd party verification thus skipping the 30-45 day investigation process.
Never – If you never notify the credit bureaus that your credit reports contain errors then it’s very unlikely that they’ll ever get corrected. The credit bureaus aren’t obligated to perform an investigation unless the consumer first notifies them. And, how would the credit bureaus know something is incorrect unless the consumer bring it to their attention?
Never, again – The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows the credit bureaus to ignore your request for an investigation if they deem it to be frivolous. So, if you send a letter to the bureaus saying, “I dispute everything on my credit report” it’s unlikely you’ll get a response. And, if you dispute the same item over and over the credit bureaus can eventually deem that to be frivolous unless you provide new information regarding why you believe it to be incorrect.
Credit Reporting Expert, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, founder of www.creditexpertwitness.com and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry. You can follow John on Twitter here.