How to Write a Credit Dispute Letter

At least once a year, you should review your free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus to ensure all your credit history and payment history are accurate.

writing a letter

What is a credit dispute letter?

A credit dispute letter is a written request to a credit bureau to investigate and correct errors on your personal credit report. Credit reports contain information about your credit history, including your credit accounts, payment history, and any outstanding debts.

Credit report errors can lower your credit score and make it harder to get loans, credit cards, and other financial products. So, it is imperative to correct these errors. A credit dispute letter allows you to formally request that the credit bureau or creditor investigates and corrects any errors on your credit report.

Which credit report errors can you dispute?

There are several types of errors that you can dispute on your credit reports. These include:

  • Incorrect personal information: If any of your personal information, such as your name or address, is incorrect on your credit reports, you can dispute it.
  • Incorrect account information: If any of the account information on your credit reports, such as the balance or payment history, is incorrect, you can dispute it.
  • Incorrect public record information: If any public record information, such as a bankruptcy or tax lien, is incorrect on your credit reports, you can dispute it.
  • Inaccurate credit inquiries: If you see credit inquiries on your credit reports that you did not authorize, you can dispute them.
  • Incorrect late payments: If you made a payment on time but it is being reported as late on your credit reports, you can dispute the error.
  • Closed accounts being reported as open: If you have closed an account but it is still being reported as open on your credit report, you can dispute the error.
  • Incorrect account balances: If the balances on your credit reports are incorrect, you can dispute the errors.
  • Fraudulent accounts: If you see accounts on your credit reports that you did not open, someone might have used your personal information to open fraudulent accounts. If there are any accounts on your credit report that are the result of identity theft, you can dispute these accounts.

Steps to Writing a Credit Dispute Letter

Step 1: Gather information and documents

Before you begin writing your credit dispute letter, you need to gather all the information and documents that you’ll need to support your dispute. This may include a copy of your credit report, billing statements, receipts, or other relevant documents. Make sure you have everything you need before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Identify the error in your credit report

Now that you have all the necessary information and documents, it’s time to identify the error on your credit report. Look closely at your credit report and highlight the specific information that you believe is incorrect. Make a note of the specific credit bureau that is reporting the error, as well as the creditor or company responsible for the error.

Step 3: Write the credit dispute letter

Now it’s time to start drafting your credit report dispute letter. Begin by introducing yourself and providing your personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth.

Next, explain the error that you have identified on your credit report and provide any supporting evidence to back up your dispute. Be sure to keep your letter factual and professional, and avoid making any accusations or using inflammatory language.

Step 4: Submit the credit dispute letter

Once you have finished writing your credit report dispute letter, it’s time to submit it to the credit bureau and creditor responsible for the error. You can either mail your letter or submit it online.

Make sure to keep a copy of the letter for your own records. After you have submitted your dispute, the credit bureau will investigate your claim and determine whether the information on your credit file is indeed incorrect.

Outlining Your Credit Dispute Letter

Occasionally, there might be an error on your credit report that requires correction to properly reflect your credit score and history to prospective lenders, landlords, and employers.

If your credit report has an error, you’ll need to write a credit dispute letter to each of the relevant credit bureaus. A properly written letter quickly removes any unnecessary damage to your credit by telling the bureau exactly what errors are on your credit report.

The following sections will help guide you through the writing process so that you can specifically tell the credit bureau what errors need to be corrected and how you want the error to be corrected. Remember, it’s okay to display an amount of frustration, but, you need to remain on-topic and cordial.

If the bureau perceives your letter as hostile, they’re more likely to delay the investigation or dismiss the dispute as frivolous. A simple rule of thumb is to write the letter how you would want the letter written to you assuming you were the credit bureau instead of the person filing the dispute.


In the top-left corner of the letter, write your contact information first by including your legal name, address, telephone number, and, if you desire, your email address.

Next, include your social security number directly underneath as that is usually the primary way the credit bureaus identify your dispute case.

Two spaces below that, write the name and mailing address of the respective credit bureau. Finally, two spaces beneath the bureau’s address, include today’s date. This is actually the standard format for many official letters, in addition to credit dispute letters.


This is the most important section because it tells the bureau what needs to be corrected. Another two spaces below the date, you might begin the letter with “To Whom It May Concern:” or “(Name of Credit Bureau) Dispute Center:” to remain professional.

Underneath the salutation, you can now begin telling the credit bureau about the error and your desire to begin the credit report dispute process.

Describe the error and list any supporting documentation within the length of a paragraph. If you have several errors to dispute, use a separate paragraph for each one.

Give just enough information to tell the bureau why the error is being disputed and how you want the error to be corrected.

In most instances, you’ll want the error to be deleted from your credit report. You can use a phrase like, “Please remove this item from my credit report” when the error doesn’t require a simple correction such as your contact information or payment history.


After telling the bureau about your dispute and requested corrective action, conclude your letter with a cordial ending such as “Sincerely,” “Thank you for your time,” or “Respectfully” followed by your name underneath.

If you typed the letter on a computer, take the time to sign or print your name by hand to add authenticity to the letter. This measure of professionalism is greatly appreciated by the bureau and can pay dividends to make your story stand out from the countless other letters they receive.

Remember that the burden of proof is on the credit bureaus to provide evidence that the information on your credit report is complete and accurate. We don’t recommend sending in supporting documentation along with your letter because it can actually backfire in some cases.

Sample Credit Dispute Letter

Here is an example of a typical credit dispute letter:

{Your full name}

{Credit report number/ID}

{Date of birth}

{Social Security number}

{Your address}

{Your telephone number}

{Date of letter}

{Name of credit bureau}

{Credit bureau address}

Dear {Name of credit bureau},

I am writing to bring to your attention errors on my credit report that I recently discovered while reviewing it. Below is a list of the inaccurate items.

Account Number: {Account number}
Date or Time Frame: {Date or time frame}

Thank you for your assistance in resolving this issue.


{Your name}

Sending Your Letter

It’s a good idea to maintain a record of everything you send in case you need to reference a letter in the future. Good record keeping is key in any type of credit report dispute. It’s also important to send a hard copy letter rather than utilizing the credit bureaus’ online submission forms or through the phone.


While these may seem like valid options that are much more convenient, you don’t receive any kind of confirmation that your request was received and in some cases may even automatically waive some of your rights.

We recommend sending your letter via certified mail with “return receipt requested,” as proof that your letter was received. Handwritten letters are also helpful for complex disputes that cannot be properly described via the credit bureaus’ online forms.

Clearly State Your Request for a Dispute

It’s your responsibility to initiate the credit report dispute with the credit bureau and prove the reporting error. When writing your letter, specifically state that you want to open a dispute on the following item(s) detailed in the credit dispute letter.

If you use vague language, you run the risk of your letter only being seen as a customer complaint instead of an actual request to dispute a credit report error. Use formal language to carry home your point.

Credit dispute letters don’t have to be formatted in MLA or APA style like your high school English essays once were. However, it still needs to be professional and not sound like it was written by a robot.

Write the letter as you would to a colleague or a family member compared to how you might write a text message. For example, this means using “Your” instead of “Ur”.

Once you clearly indicate to the credit reporting agency your desire for an error to be resolved, they will investigate the dispute and contact the appropriate financial institution. The entire process may not take longer than 30 days.

Handling Multiple Disputes

If you have several errors, remember to include a separate paragraph in the body of the credit report dispute letter for each error. Only dispute three or four errors at one time.

Too many disputed errors at once can overwhelm and confuse the person reviewing your letter. They may also deem your disputes as “frivolous” if you dispute too many at once.

While it can be frustrating if you need to submit more than one credit report dispute letter, attempt to group related disputes together if you must write multiple letters.

Many creditors report the same information to two or all three credit bureaus. So, you should also check your credit reports from the other credit bureaus to see if the error is duplicated. If so, you can send a separate letter to each credit reporting agency to have the error corrected.

Otherwise, you can wait for the dispute to be completed with one bureau and the information might be adjusted on your other credit reports as well. In most instances, however, it’s best to cover all your bases and send copies of your dispute letter to each of the credit reporting agencies displaying the error.

Remove Negative Information vs. Correcting Positive Errors

For almost every dispute reason, the best dispute correction option is to delete the error from the report. After listing the dispute in the body of the letter, close the individual paragraph with “Please remove this item from my credit report”. That will signal to the credit reporting agency how you want each discrepancy to be handled.

Deleting or removing errors from negative accounts that are past due, foreclosed, or bankrupt can help improve your credit scores.

If your dispute does not make any real changes to the status such as the account is past due (three months late) instead of being delinquent (six months late), there probably won’t be any adjustment to your credit score. This is because the account still has a negative balance.

It is better for some disputes, like inaccurate late payments, to have the item corrected instead of removed. This allows your credit score to improve by showing an on-time payment history instead.

Because the account is current and in good standing, corrections are more beneficial than deleting an error. This is another instance where it’s helpful to state directly in your letter the action you’d like the credit bureau to take to resolve the issue.

What Happens If Your Request is Denied

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit bureaus have 30 days to review your dispute and the status can often be reviewed online. However, regardless of how you request the error to be resolved, the credit bureau has the final say. They do not have to honor your request to remove or correct a credit error.

If you do not agree with the final decision, you can add a 100-word statement to your report discussing the dispute to give lenders your side of the story.

You can also dispute it again. However, when you do so, you should dispute a different detail about the account.

While you can dispute factors that determine your credit score, you cannot dispute the actual score itself. This is because the credit score is separate from your credit report and is determined by a third-party algorithm.

How to Mail Your Credit Dispute Letter

You can mail your credit report dispute letter and any documentation using the Postal Service as all three have P.O. Box mailing addresses.

The cheapest option is to mail it first class, but it might be a good idea to purchase USPS Tracking so you can track the exact date the letter is delivered. Certified Mail is the most thorough option that requires a signature upon delivery.

Below are the mailing addresses of the three credit bureaus:

P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

TransUnion LLC
Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19106

More Tips for Disputing Credit Report Errors

Here are some additional tips for disputing errors on your credit report:

  • Stay calm and be patient. It can be frustrating to find errors on your credit report, but it’s important to remain calm and not let your emotions get the best of you. Credit bureaus and creditors are required to investigate your dispute, but this process can take time. Be patient and follow up if you don’t receive a response within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Check your credit report regularly. After you have disputed an error on your credit report, it’s a good idea to check your credit report regularly to ensure that the error has been corrected. This will help you catch any other errors that may arise in the future.
  • Consider hiring a credit repair company. If you are having difficulty disputing errors on your own, you may want to consider hiring a credit repair company to help you. Credit repair companies can help you navigate the dispute process and advocate on your behalf to get errors corrected. Just be aware that credit repair services can be expensive, and it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable company.

Final Thoughts

Writing a credit dispute letter might seem overwhelming at first, but it is not as difficult as it seems.

By following the steps above, remaining concise, and writing in a professional and respectful manner, you’ll be on the right path to correct any credit dispute as quickly as possible and help restore your credit to its proper standing.