Whether you are applying for a job or filling out a mortgage loan application, your credit history is one of the most important pieces of your personal history. However, your credit report may have potentially damaging mistakes.

From identity theft to inaccurate reporting, misinformation can cost you. If you are aware of incorrect information on your report, it’s time to learn the ins and outs of filing a credit dispute.

Knowing your credit dispute rights

Federal credit legislation provides protection for any consumer whose credit may have been compromised. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, consumers have the right to submit a credit dispute to contest any incorrect, unverifiable or outdated negative information.

Whom to contact with a credit dispute

Because your credit report can vary among the three leading U.S. credit bureaus, it’s important to make sure any inaccurate information is corrected and reflected in your credit history. You can contact the credit bureaus via postal mail, telephone or online.

When to file a credit dispute

Don’t wait. As soon as you see an error on your report, review the FTC Guide How to Dispute Credit Report Errors, and determine the best way to file.

While filing a dispute may feel like a lot of phone calls and forms, fixing credit report errors is essential to your financial fitness. Be proactive about maintaining a clean credit history by ordering a credit report from a different credit bureau every four months through AnnualCreditReport.com.