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How to Dispute Your Credit Report

The Borrowell Team

Jan 12, 2021 8 min read

Article Contents

    Your credit report is a crucial part of your financial identity. If you spot an error on your credit report, it’s important to dispute it as soon as possible. You can dispute your credit report by providing the appropriate documents to Canada’s credit bureaus through mail or online. Canada’s main credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, are obligated to maintain accurate information on your credit report and investigate any disputes.

    Errors on your credit report can have a negative impact on your credit score. That's because your credit score is calculated based on what information shows up on your credit report. If there are errors on your report, your credit score will suffer, and you'll have a more difficult time getting additional credit or applying for loans in the future. If you find an error on your credit report, here’s how to file a dispute with both Equifax and TransUnion. 

    How to send your dispute

    Borrowell provides you with your free credit score and Equifax credit report, but we can't change or remove any item on your Equifax credit report. We also can’t dispute your Equifax credit report on your behalf. If you believe your credit report includes false information regarding missed payments or your credit history, you can file a dispute for free with the credit bureau. 

    The information you need

    When you file a dispute, you need to clearly state the item you are disputing. This could be personal information (like your date of birth) or credit information (like a credit account that you don’t recognize). You will need to provide documentation that supports the information you’re disputing. Here are examples of documents that you may need to provide copies of:

    Personal information
    • Government-issued ID (such as a passport or driver’s license)
    • Supporting document with your name and address (such as phone bill, internet bill, or financial statement)
    • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
    • Current address
    • Previous address (if you’ve been at your current address for less than two years)
    • Current employment information
    Credit information
    • The name of the company you have a dispute with
    • Account information (including account number, if known)
    • Reason for your dispute (e.g., you have paid the account, etc.)
    • Documentation to support your dispute
    Other information
    • Bankruptcy discharge or other court documents
    • Release letters from lenders, collection agencies, or satisfaction of judgment

    Have as much information ready as possible before filing a credit report dispute. Note that your credit report from each bureau may look different, and Borrowell only provides you with your Equifax report. If there are errors on both your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports, you will need to file disputes with both bureaus. Here’s how to file a dispute with Equifax and TransUnion.

    File a dispute with Equifax

    To dispute information on your Equifax credit report, you can file a dispute either online or by mail. 

    Online

    You can begin an online dispute with Equifax by providing your full name, email address, phone number, and reason for the dispute. Once you’ve submitted this initial form, you will receive an email confirming that a ticket has been opened. 

    From there, you will need to submit an online Consumer Credit Report Update Form. Depending on what you are disputing, this form will ask you for personal identification information, public record information, credit account information, and your signature. You will need to scan and upload the appropriate documents. 

    Equifax requires 2 pieces of documentation to verify your name and address:

    • One government-issued ID (such as a passport or driver’s license)
    • One supporting document (such as phone bill, internet bill, or financial statement)
    By Mail

    You can mail Equifax a completed Consumer Credit Report Update Form, along with photocopies of the necessary IDs and supporting documents related to your dispute. You can mail documents to the following address:

    Equifax Canada Co. Consumer Relations Department Box 190 Jean Talon Station Montreal, Quebec H1S 2Z2

    Equifax previously provided support by fax, but this is no longer available.

    File a dispute with TransUnion

    To dispute information on your TransUnion credit report, you can file a dispute online, by mail, or by phone.

    Online

    You can begin an online dispute with TransUnion by completing their 3-step Online Consumer Dispute Service. This includes providing your full name, date of birth, street name, and social insurance number. Once you’ve submitted this initial form, you will gain access to their Online Disputes platform to continue your dispute. 

    By Mail

    You can print and complete a TransUnion Credit Investigation Request Form. You can mail the completed form, along photocopies of the necessary supporting documentation, to the following address:

    TransUnion  Consumer Relations Department 3115 Harvester Road, Suite 201  Burlington, Ontario L7N 3N8

    By Phone

    You can dispute your TransUnion credit report over the phone by calling one of the following numbers:

    • For service in English (except if you live in Quebec): 1-800-663-9980
    • For service in French (and for anyone living in Quebec): 1-877-713-3393 

    What to expect from my credit report dispute

    After filing your credit report dispute, the credit bureau will review the details you provided and verify the information that you’ve disputed. Here’s typically what will happen: 

    • The credit bureau will check whether the details you provided align with the information they have on file
    • If there’s an issue, the bureau will contact the company whose information that you are disputing
    • If the company confirms that the information is incorrect or incomplete, they will send the bureau updated information, and the bureau will update your credit report
    • If the company maintains that the original information they provided to the bureau is correct, the bureau will not make changes to your credit report  

    Contacting the company related to your dispute can help the process move more quickly. Explain to them which information you believe is inaccurate and ask them if they are able to update their files accordingly. If possible, ask them to resubmit your information to the credit bureau.

    Depending on which bureau you’re working with and how you filed your dispute, your credit report dispute can take up to 30 days to process. Equifax states that their disputes are processed within 5 to 20 business days.  

    Typically, a confirmation letter is sent to you with the results and outcome of the investigation. If you filed your dispute by mail, your confirmation letter will be mailed. If you filed your dispute online, your confirmation letter will be emailed to you. 

    If your dispute is successful, changes that occur as the result of the investigation will be made on both your consumer disclosure and your credit report.

    If your dispute is unsuccessful, no changes will be made to your credit report. You can try escalating your case by asking to speak further with the company involved.

    If this doesn’t help, you can request the credit bureau to include a consumer statement on your credit report for free. A consumer statement is a short explanation that’s attached to the disputed item in your credit report. Anyone that pulls your credit report, including lenders and employers, will be able to see this consumer statement. This could help improve your approval chances when applying for credit in the future. It will remain on your credit report for 6 years.

    If you wish to take further action, you can file an official written complaint to your province or territory’s consumer affairs office.

    Are there things in my report that I can’t change?

    Errors can be fixed; however, you can’t change what is true and accurate on your credit report. Only inaccurate information may be removed from your credit report. You can’t request to remove negative but accurate information because it’s hurting your credit score.

    Most negative information remains on your report for up to six years. Missed payments, judgements, and collection accounts remain on your credit report for up to six years from when they were first reported. Multiple bankruptcies, however, can remain on your credit report for up to 14 years. The good news is that these types of negative information carry less weight as time passes on.

    Common credit report errors

    There’s a wide range of errors that you should look out for on your credit report. 

    Here are some common credit report errors you should watch out for:

    • Personal information mistakes, such as an incorrect name, phone number, mailing address, or date of birth 
    • Incorrect payment statuses, such as on-time payments for credit cards or loans showing as late
    • Closed accounts reported as open
    • Duplicate account listings, especially in the case of delinquent accounts or accounts in collections
    • Negative credit information that’s older than seven years, such as delinquencies and consumer proposals (note that multiple bankruptcies can remain for 14 years)
    • Mixed accounts, or accounts belonging to another person with the same name
    • Incorrect accounts resulting from identity theft

    If you suspect that any of these errors are on your credit report, file a dispute with the credit bureaus as soon as possible.

    The Bottom Line

    It’s important to fix any errors on your credit report as soon as possible, as it can impact your overall creditworthiness. If you’ve found an error on your Equifax or TransUnion credit report, start filing a dispute with the appropriate bureau. Although it can be a timely process, disputing errors on your credit report can be a tangible way to improve your credit score. You could see your credit score improve in a couple of months, depending on how quickly errors are removed from your report.

    If you’re not in the habit of regularly reviewing and monitoring your credit report, you can sign up for Borrowell to access your Equifax credit report for free. By regularly monitoring your report, you can ensure that your credit score hasn’t suffered by mistake before applying for a credit card, loan, or mortgage.

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