There are a couple of reasons I can see for asking that question. The first is that you are a diligent consumer who wants to know the instant an error appears on your report so you can correct it right away. The second is that you have fixed something bad and want to know when your report will reflect that. Either way, you should understand that credit reports can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t expect to be able to fix something instantly. Let’s take a closer look.
There Is No Actual “Report” Until a Request Is Made
If you’re of a certain age, you probably have a vision of rows of file cabinets at each of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs) with everyone’s paper credit report stored away until it is requested. The younger among us might realize that’s impossible and instead picture the same thing but in digital form stored on hard drives. You would both be wrong. The CRAs have information about you from every lender you’ve ever dealt with (and some that you have not dealt with) stored in databases. When someone (including you) requests a credit report, the CRAs access those databases, pull all the information about you together and create a credit report on the spot. Credit scores are calculated in the same way. So the reality is that your credit report and credit score only reflect your credit history at that exact moment in time. For example, if a late payment is reported by a lender right after your report was compiled for a loan application that requester won’t see the blemish, but someone who requests a report the next day will.
Allow Time to Fix Mistakes
While your report could change literally from one second to the next, it doesn’t mean that when you submit proof of an error in your credit history to a CRA, they will fix as quickly. CRAs have 30 days to investigate a reported error and additional time after that to correct it if they agree that it is an error. If you are planning to buy a house or a new car, be sure to check your credit reports a good four to six months before applying for a loan to allow time to fix any errors. If you are indeed that diligent consumer, you may want to routinely check your credit report with each of the three agencies a couple of times a year.
What If the CRA Doesn’t Fix a Mistake?
CRAs are required by federal law to investigate a dispute and to correct any information that is proven to be false. If they fail to do this in a timely manner, you may have a claim for damages. Contact me online at the Cardoza Law Corporation or call my office directly at 855.982.2400 to find out how to do this. I will help you take the necessary steps and will not charge you a cent. If I think there you have cause for damages, we can discuss next steps.