You spend years working hard to stay current on all of your bills. You make sure all of your credit card balances are paid off before interest accrues, and you go the extra mile to never miss a car, rent, or loan payment the day it comes due.
After all of this hard work, you go to apply for a mortgage thinking your credit is in top shape. You expect to have access to loans with low APRs and favorable terms on account of how well you’ve curated your credit profile over the years. You submit your application for a home loan and wait for the approval to come through.
But then, the lender you apply with comes back to you with a loan denial.
The reason? Insufficient or nonexistent credit.
How could this be?
You frantically jump online and run a credit check on yourself with the top three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. As it turns out, Experian and Equifax show that your credit is outstanding. However, Transunion has a credit file for you that contains no credit score whatsoever, indicating that your credit history with them has mysteriously vanished.
Suddenly and without warning, you’ve become a victim of a credit file error that isn’t your fault.
How to Fix a ‘No Score’ Credit Report
The situation we’ve described can be a real headache to fix, especially when the affected consumer didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. The most common explanation for why one credit bureau might have accurate information about you and another one might not is because your credit file got mixed in with someone else’s.
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection reported in 2019 that as many as 11% of all US adults don’t have a credit score at all. And, an additional 11% have a ‘thin’ or ‘stale’ credit file that has too little information for a lender to make a proper assessment of creditworthiness.
Because of the sheer volume of thin or nonexistent credit scores assigned to so many millions of US citizens, it’s possible for one of them to become incorrectly associated or ‘mixed in’ with a credit file that is current and correct.
This type of error isn’t the only one to keep an eye out for. Credit reporting bureaus and consumer lending institutions make administrative errors all the time, and it’s up to you to maintain a constant vigil and take action the moment you notice something awry with your own credit file.
Other common credit reporting errors include:
- Loan or credit card payments being applied to the wrong account
- Accounts being reported more than once on the same credit file
- Former spouse’s debts being reported on a post-divorce credit file
- Collections or defaulted accounts staying on a credit file for longer than 7 years
- Mysterious accounts being opened in your name
Whether you’re dealing with a ‘No Score’ situation or something more complex, there are some actions you can take to resolve the issue.
- Contacting the reporting bureau directly. Experian, Transunion, and Equifax all have reporting features built into their respective websites. You can begin the process of correcting a mixed credit file situation by reaching out to them directly and requesting that the incorrect data be investigated and corrected.
- Contacting the organization that made the false/inaccurate report. Remember that the credit bureaus don’t always double-check that reported credit information is 100% correct after it’s been submitted to them. So, after you find out who has made an incorrect report about you, contact them directly to see about having the error fixed.
- Sending a certified letter. Sometimes, both the credit bureaus and any reporting organizations will drag their feet in dealing with your credit file dispute. If and when this happens, consider sending a certified letter that proves you started the dispute process in writing.
- Retaining legal counsel. Some especially complicated or long-standing mixed credit file issues can take a herculean effort to remedy completely. If you don’t think you have the time, patience, or other resources it takes to go about fixing your credit reporting situation on your own—or if your efforts aren’t making any progress after months or even years—it might be time to hire an attorney to help you.
Always remember that you are never without options when it comes to fixing a credit reporting error that wasn’t your fault.
If you need more assistance or want professional, legal guidance to help navigate your credit situation, contact the consumer advocates at Matthew R. Osborne, PC.