How to dispute a student loan error on your credit report – Forbes Advisor

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As you prepare to apply for a car loan or mortgage, you check your credit report to make sure everything is in tip top shape. But you find that the student loan that you paid off last year is marked as unpaid – what gives?

Unfortunately, credit report errors are common. In a recent Consumer Reports study, 34% of individuals found at least one error on their credit reports.

If you find an error regarding your student debt, here’s how to dispute student loans on your credit report.

5 common mistakes in student loan credit reports

Student loans can be wrongly reported to the credit bureaus. When looking at your credit report, here are some of the most common mistakes you might find:

1. Closed loan accounts listed as open

You may find that a loan that you have already paid off is listed as open or unpaid. This problem can occur for several different reasons, but the most common explanation is a delay in reporting. Loan services can take several months to report your payments, so there may be a delay between when you pay off the loan and your credit report is updated.

2. Loans classified as past due

If your loans are forbidden or deferred, it is especially important to monitor your credit. Accounts could be falsely listed as past due when, in reality, you had the approval of the loan manager to suspend your payments. Errors regarding the status of your loan are usually due to an error by your service agent. They probably missed your payment status and submitted the delinquency by accident.

3. Loans wrongly registered under your name

Sometimes the loans listed under your name might be due to a simple mistake – someone with a similar name might have taken out a loan and the information got mixed up. But it can also happen when identity thieves use your information to open new accounts. Either way, you can dispute student loans that you haven’t taken out.

4. Loans are listed multiple times

You may find that your student loan is listed more than once on your credit report. If the same debt appears on more than one account, it can have a significant impact on your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and affect your ability to access other forms of credit. This problem can arise due to paperwork errors, but it can also occur if your loan is transferred to a new service agent. There may be an overlap when the loan is listed in two places before being updated.

5. Canceled loans listed as past due or in default

If you are eligible for a loan forgiveness or a loan release, for example, if you are eligible for federal full and permanent disability release and your loans are still listed as open on your credit report, you can dispute student loans. Loans that have been canceled may be listed incorrectly due to errors on the part of the loan manager.

How to Fix a Student Loan Error on Your Credit Report

Finding mistakes on your credit report can cause panic, but you are submitting a dispute to have them corrected. Student loans can affect your credit report and your credit score, so it’s important to take steps to repair your credit. Here’s how.

1. Examine your credit reports

Usually, you can view your free credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. However, you can receive for free every week until April 20, 2022 due to the Covid pandemic. When looking at your credit report, look for the following:

  • Personal informations. Make sure your personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number (SSN) is correct.
  • Accounts. Check to see if there are any accounts in your name that don’t belong to you. You can find student loans that you didn’t take out or credit cards that don’t belong to you.
  • Surveys. The credit report lists all recent credit inquiries. If you haven’t applied for new credit, recent inquiries may indicate that your information has been compromised and that someone else is submitting loan applications on your behalf.

2. Gather the documentation

If you find any inaccuracies regarding student loans, gather the documents you need to dispute the issues on your credit report. The exact information you need to provide will depend on the error you are disputing, but you may need copies of the following documents:

  • Your incorrect credit report
  • Driver’s license or other identity document
  • Contact details of lenders you are contesting
  • Loan or bank statements
  • Repayment confirmation from your student loan manager
  • Proof of payment, remittance, requests for abstention or other supporting documents

3. Write a letter

Then write a letter to the loan department that submitted the incorrect information to the credit bureaus. The letter must include the account you are disputing, the reasons why you believe the account is inaccurate, any supporting documents in your possession, and a request to delete or correct the account. You can use a sample Federal Trade Commission (FTC) letter to help you write your own.

4. Contact your loan officers

Submit your dispute letter to your loan manager or lender by certified mail or through your online account. If you don’t know where to send it, contact the lender’s customer service department.

In 2021, there were 10 federal student loan managers. Borrowers with federal loans can contact their service agent with the information below:

5. Submit disputes with credit bureaus

After contacting the loan manager, you should also submit a dispute with the credit bureaus. You can dispute the accounts online or by mail:

  • TransUnion
    Consumer Dispute Center
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, Pennsylvania 19016
  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 740256
    Atlanta, Georgia 30374
  • Experiential
    P.O. Box 4500
    Allen, Texas 75013

Next steps

Now that you know how to dispute student loans on your credit report, you may be wondering how long it takes to resolve these issues. Here’s what to expect.

  • Hourly: The credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate any dispute you file. If an office decides that your dispute is unfounded, it should send you a notification. If they agree with your dispute, they will notify you and the company that reported it, in this case your student loans manager.
  • Notification: You will receive the results of the investigation from the credit bureau in writing. If the dispute results in a change to your credit report, such as updating an account to show that it has been refunded, you will also receive a free copy of your credit report.
  • Resolution: If you can’t get anywhere with the credit bureaus or a private student lender, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). You can also contact a student loans ombudsman for help. For federal student loans, contact the Federal Student Aid Mediator Group.

To spot any problems with your student loans, be sure to check your credit report regularly. If you find any issues, immediately start the dispute process. If your personal information has been compromised, you may want to consider freezing your credit report to prevent identity thieves from taking out lines of credit in your name.

About Joan Ferguson

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