credit report errors

How to Repair Credit Report Errors – A Guide for Businesses

Credit report errors plague more than 40 million American consumers and are the leading reason credit repair businesses exist. The choice to not act on these errors is often costly. In soon time, your unjust credit score calculations will result in higher interest rates. Credit report errors should be fixed right away before the damage reaches this point. Unfortunately, for many consumers, the damage runs for years before it’s even realized.

The same sad tale often rings true with business credit profiles. Many companies do not even try to build their corporate credit until after getting rejected for a loan. At this time they might obtain a business credit report – only to discover their company was targeted by fraudsters.

Surprise, You Have Business Credit Report Errors!

For businesses, this subject is ignored far too often.

Did you know the details required to steal a business’s identity and commit credit fraud are available to the public? It’s true. All an identity thief really needs to attack a business’s credit file is the EIN number, the company’s legal name and its physical address. Your business’s EIN number works similar to your personal SSN.

Unfortunately, all three pieces of data can be found in a database managed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. If your business has a Form 10-K filed, this will display in the EDGAR system. This form also shows your company’s physical address and legal name – giving an identity thief enough to commit credit fraud through your business.

Check Your File for Credit Report Errors Now

Now is the time to check your business credit report if you have not already done so. Any business could become an identity theft victim, even if they have no prior credit history.

What should you know before getting your business credit report?

First, you must acknowledge that there are multiple credit bureaus which serve business credit reports. These credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian and Dun & Bradstreet. TransUnion only provides credit reports for small business owners, not the actual entities.

An identity thief could establish credit which reports to only one of those three credit bureaus. As such, it’s possible to have fraud posted on your report at one bureau but not at the other two. This fact means you need to pull your credit file from each of these agencies to determine whether there are any credit report errors or signs of identity theft.

Are Business Credit Reports Free Once a Year?

AnnualCreditReport.com supplies a free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus to consumers once a year. This service is authorized by the FTC as part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). However, the FCRA only applies for consumer credit files – the service at AnnualCreditReport.com will not entitle businesses to a free copy of their report.

Some lenders will supply a copy of your credit report, if requested, after you get rejected for a loan. This route typically works if you contact them in no more than 90 days after your loan application is denied. You can request their reasoning and a copy of the report they used to determine your loan eligibility.

While that alternative route might work, it has a major setback. You are only receiving one of the three credit reports you need. You would need to get denied for a loan from three lenders – and each needs to use a different credit bureau when qualifying you.

Simply put, the simplest way to get business credit reports is to buy them.

Getting a Copy of Your Business Credit Report

Visit SmartBusinessReports.com to purchase a copy of your Equifax business credit report. You might not even need to pay to get your answer, though. View pricing here.

Businesses that do not have a current file with Equifax will not be able to order. Go to that website and use their search tool to look up your business file – just enter your company’s name, city and state. If no report exists, there’s no established credit history under your business.

Visit BusinessCreditFacts.com to purchase a copy of your Experian business credit report. Just like with Equifax, it’s possible you do not need to pay for your report. Put your company name and location in to see if a file currently exists. If not, you’re good. View pricing here.

Visit DNB.com to purchase a copy of your Dun & Bradstreet business credit report. Again, you have the chance to search their database of companies with established credit files. Just enter your company name, country and state to see if you have an existing report. Their credit reports are sold in four different packages. View pricing here.

Disputing Errors to Repair Credit for Your Business

The credit repair process involves disputing any inaccuracies or errors on your report. The steps to take when fixing business credit report issues are a bit different.

Reporting Inaccuracies to Equifax

Complete this form and mail it to:

Equifax Commercial Solutions

PO Box 740249

Atlanta, GA 30374

You can also contact Equifax by phone to claim your dispute at 1-800-727-8495 or by fax at 1-888-416-9436 for a fast response.

Reporting Inaccuracies to Experian

Send your dispute letter via mail and make sure to:

  • Draw circles around any inaccuracies found on your business’s credit report.
  • Include the right details for these wrongly reported entries, along with supporting evidence.
  • Request a fraud alert if your company was targeted by an identity thief, which must be accompanied by one of the business owner’s signatures.

Mail to:

Experian – Commercial Relations BCF

PO Box 5001

Costa Mesa, CA 92628-5001

Alternatively, create a PDF file with your claim and email it to BusinessDisputes@experian.com or fax it to 1-714-830-2903 and include Attn: BCF data update to get a quick response.

What if your business’s name, address or phone number are not correctly reported? Use Experian’s updating service to notify them of the issue.

Reporting Inaccuracies to Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet requires you to use their iUpdate service. This gateway gives American businesses the chance to dispute any inaccurate recordings on their credit report.

You can also contact Dun & Bradstreet to resolve your credit report errors. Call 1-800-234-3867 to get details on how to proceed. If you have an issue with the way payments were reported, but there’s no sign of fraud, give them a call. They will verify the credit report entry with the vendor and remove it if there’s no proof to back up their claim.

Business Owners – Check for Credit Report Errors!

It’s not just a business’s credit report that can get targeted by fraudsters. Sometimes the business owner is the real victim. In fact, many identity thieves pretend to be the business owner to establish credit under a business.

Getting Your Personal Credit Report

Thankfully, it won’t cost you anything to receive a copy of your personal credit reports. The FTC ensures that each American consumer is entitled to one free copy of their file from each of the major credit bureaus, every single year. Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com to order yours today.

Already received your free annual report? If you have concerns that there are credit report errors now, which weren’t there before, you’ll have to pay. Thankfully, the personal credit reports cost much less than business reports. You can get all three (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) for just $59.85 via myFICO, which includes your credit scores.

Personal Credit Repair – Error Disputes

The first thing you need to do is make a list of all the errors you wish to dispute. Then, gather all the evidence you have to defend your stance. As an example – you need to get a copy of your divorce decree when requesting removal of an ex’s account from your credit report. Next comes the actual process of disputing the errors.

You have two options now. One, you submit credit repair letters to the bureaus that display the errors. Two, you use a credit repair CRM software which will handle this process for you. TurboDispute gives you the ability to import your credit reports, make dispute letters and submit them all in one place. Once you get the hang of this software, it will be clear it won’t be hard to fix up your personal credit report inaccuracies.

How to Submit a Dispute Letter

Read ‘How to Write a Credit Dispute Letter That Works’ for full insight on how to create and submit your dispute letter. You must make your claim with any of the major credit bureaus that display the error on your credit report. As per the FCRA Act, the bureau has 30 days to complete the investigation and make a decision.

The most important thing to do is provide as much details as possible. Explaining your side of the story is a good start. Backing it up with enclosures that speak for themselves will make a world of difference. For example, look at how to handle a dispute over a debt collection agency reporting the wrong balance. Your documents from the original lender make for the perfect enclosure as they will back-up your claim that the real balance is different.

You can make a Method of Verification request if they decide the negative item is legitimate and you disagree. The bureau will have 15 days to supply information. You can learn the original creditor’s name, address and phone number. You can also request the documents used to verify the negative item. Lastly, you have the right to receive the name of the person at the credit bureau that verified it.

How to Repair Credit After Identity Theft

Identity theft is a whole different ball game. Your credit report and score will be damaged because of the fraudulent acts of the identity thief. You are not to blame and the credit bureaus will not hold you liable. You simply need to prove that it is a case of identity theft, but how do you do that? The answer is pretty straightforward for personal claims, but businesses have a harder battle in front of them.

How to report identity theft as an individual

Submit a report at IdentityTheft.gov (or call 1-877-438-4338) explaining the specifics of your situation. You will then receive an Identity Theft Report, also known as an Identity Theft Affidavit. This document can be provided along with your dispute letter to backup your claim that you or your business were an identity theft victim. Make sure the report involves a complaint about the item(s) you are disputing in your letter.

How to report identity theft as a business

The steps you must take to report business identity theft depend on the situation. Check out this detailed guide to gain insight on how to react to different circumstances. Some of the steps that apply for business identity theft victims include notifying creditors, vendors and other suppliers. Supplying documents in the form of enclosures in your dispute letter is still necessary. Also, whether your company already experienced it – you should familiarize yourself with the plenty identity theft risks that exist for business owners.

Credit Repair with Business Credit Monitoring Services

Business credit reports are more difficult to maintain than personal ones. With each report costing approximately $50 to $100 to pull, you can’t keep looking every few months. The higher cost makes it essential to consider an alternative to manual lookups – and business credit monitoring services offer real value.

Check out the credit monitoring services available to businesses through each of the three main credit bureaus: Equifax’s Business Credit Monitor ($19.95 per month), Experian’s Business Credit Advantage($149 annually) and Dun & Bradstreet’s Credit Signal (free).

Conclusion

Businesses and business owners need to know how to repair credit in case any errors ever show up on your file. The instructions above serve as a fundamental starting point for any case of credit fraud or wrongful entries.

Ultimately, it’s recommended that a business reaches out by phone to the respective credit bureau before making their claim. The circumstances for credit repair with business credit reports are different. Thus, being hands-on with the credit reporting agencies will ensure you will quickly get the right outcome.