So, you've found a mistake on your credit report-- now what? It's time to file a dispute. But if that task seems daunting, or if you're worried it won't be worth the effort, keep reading.

Here is a summary of four different ways a credit report dispute might be resolved:

1. The credit reporting agency fixes the error.

This is the ideal scenario. When you file a credit report dispute, the credit reporting agency (CRA) you file the dispute with has approximately 30 days to investigate and get back to you.

If their investigation proves that the mistake you pointed out is in fact a mistake, then they'll update your credit report accordingly. That could mean updating the information for accuracy, or removing the information altogether if it shouldn't have been there at all.

This resolution isn't just important for fairness and accuracy in your credit report; it can also mean a bump in your credit scores if the erroneous information was negative. Once that negative information is reviewed, your credit scores could see an improvement.

2. The CRA can verify that the information was accurate.

It is possible that the CRA's investigation didn't discover sufficient evidence that the mistake you pointed out was in fact a mistake. In that case, the CRA will let you know that the information has been verified as accurate and there will be no change to your credit report.

This can happen if the dispute was filed but didn't include sufficient evidence to prove your case. If you have any financial statements or paperwork that make it clear that the information on your credit report is inaccurate, include it in your dispute. That way you're making it easier for the CRA to investigate, and ideally, the documents will prove your case.

3. The CRA could call your dispute 'frivolous.'

Believe it or not, there are times a dispute can be deemed frivolous and therefore won't even be investigated. If a CRA has classified your credit report dispute as frivolous, it's likely either because there was insufficient evidence proving your case or that the dispute is identical to a previous dispute.

If a dispute is classified as frivolous, the process ends there. The CRA won't proceed with the investigation, and there will be no changes to your credit report.

4. Other information was updated.

There can also be times when your credit report dispute results in other information on your credit report being updated-- "other," meaning information not related to that which you were disputing. In that case, the CRA will let you know that your credit report was updated, even if the item you were disputing was verified as accurate and left alone.

You can have the final word

Any time you don't agree with the results of your credit report dispute, you have the option to write a personal statement and have that appear on your credit report. You should only include this statement on the credit report or reports showing the error. Typically, the statement must be 100 words or less.

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