How to Dispute a Student Loan Error on Your Credit Report – Forbes Advisor


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When you prepare to apply for a car loan or mortgage, you check your credit report to make sure everything is in perfect order. But you find that the student loan 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 in their credit report.

If you find a mistake about your student debt, here’s how to dispute student loans on your credit report.

5 Common Student Loan Credit Report Mistakes

Student loans can be incorrectly reported to credit bureaus. When reviewing your credit report, here are some of the most common errors you might find:

1. Closed loan accounts listed as open

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

2. Loans listed as overdue

If your loans are on forbearance or deferred, it is especially important to monitor your credit. Accounts could be incorrectly listed as overdue when, in fact, you had loan officer approval to suspend your payments. Errors regarding your loan status usually occur due to an error by your servicing agent. They probably missed your payment status and submitted the default by accident.

3. Loans incorrectly listed under your name

Sometimes loans listed under your name can arise due to a simple mistake – someone with a similar name may 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. In both cases, you can dispute student loans that you did not take out.

4. Loans are listed multiple times

You may find that your student loan appears multiple times on your credit report. If a single debt shows up in multiple accounts, 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 occur due to errors in the paperwork, but it can also occur if your loan is transferred to a new servicer. There may be overlap when the loan is listed in two places before it is updated.

5. Canceled loans listed as overdue or in default

If you qualify for a loan forgiveness or loan release – for example, if you qualify for a federal total 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 incorrectly listed due to errors on the loan officer’s side.

How to fix a student loan error on your credit report

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

1. Review your credit reports

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

  • Personal information. 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 aren’t yours. You may find student loans that you didn’t take out or credit cards that don’t belong to you.
  • Requests. The credit report will list all recent credit applications. If you haven’t applied for new credit, recent inquiries may indicate that your information has been compromised and someone else is submitting loan applications on your behalf.

2. Gather documentation

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

  • Your incorrect credit report
  • Driver’s license or other ID
  • Contact details of the lenders you are disputing
  • Loan or bank statements
  • Confirmation of payment from your student loan officer
  • Proof of payments, pardons, forbearance requests or other supporting documents

3. Write a letter

Then write a letter to the loan officer who submitted the incorrect information to the credit bureaus. The letter should include the account you are disputing, why you believe the account is inaccurate, any supporting documentation you have, and a request to delete or repair the account. You can use a letter model from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you write yours.

4. Contact your loan officers

Submit your dispute letter to your loan officer 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 servicers. Borrowers with federal loans can contact their manager with the information below:

5. Submit disputes with credit bureaus

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

  • Trans Union
    Consumer Dispute Center
    Box 2000
    Chester, Pennsylvania 19016
  • Equifax
    PO Box 740256
    Atlanta, Georgia 30374
  • Experian
    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, they must 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 loan 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 are unsuccessful with the credit bureaus or a private student lender, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Alternatively, you can contact a student loans ombudsman for assistance. For federal student loans, contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group.

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

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