Credit Proofreading: Detecting Errors that Incorrectly Lower Credit Scores

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Credit Proofreading: Detecting Errors that Incorrectly Lower Credit Scores

by William DiPaolo

Why is credit proofreading needed?
When borrowers apply for mortgage loans, their credit files contain three credit scores, calculated by the credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. The data used to calculate these scores is collected, managed and reported independently by each of these bureaus. Over time, these files gather corrupt, erroneous, outdated and otherwise harmful data that lead to inaccurate – and often lower – credit scores.

What is credit proofreading?
Credit proofreading is the automated examination of credit file data, supplied by the three major credit bureaus, to detect whether or not a credit score has been incorrectly evaluated due to errors within the credit file.

What errors does credit proofreading detect?
Two types of errors are spotted: credit data errors and credit usage errors.

Error Type #1:  Credit Data Errors
Creditors report payment history to the credit bureaus using data such as credit limit, credit balance, payment amount, current status and payment history. Computers read this data to calculate a credit score. If anything is entered incorrectly due to human or computer error, inaccurate scores may result.

Error Type #2: Credit Usage Errors
Credit usage reflects the way borrowers use existing credit lines. Since credit use is a factor in calculating credit scores, improper spending habits can lower credit scores. Credit usage is misunderstood because many borrowers have little awareness of how their credit use affects their scores. Credit usage activities that get factored into credit scores include the number of available credit lines, the amount of debt incurred or the balance on each credit line and whether a credit card is used too much or too little.

How can credit proofreading help?
Credit proofreading evaluates the accuracy of credit reports, identifies errors, estimates how many points each error is costing the borrower and lists specific actions that can be taken to correct errors. Results can typically be returned immediately, and most errors can be resolved within 72 hours. For borrowers with credit usage errors, mortgage brokers and loan officers who conduct credit proofreading can offer suggestions on how to alter credit usage habits to legitimately increase the credit score.

How is credit proofreading different from credit repair?
Credit repair companies falsely claim to clean up credit reports, for a substantial fee, so borrowers can get approved for auto loans, mortgages or insurance. These schemes do nothing more than dispute information, which borrowers can do for themselves easily and at no cost. Credit proofreading, on the other hand, evaluates the accuracy of credit reports and assists borrowers in correcting errors or changing spending behavior – at no cost to the borrower. Further credit proofreading analyzes the actual data within the credit file, something a borrower can not do without the help of a mortgage professional.

Where can borrowers receive this service?
More than 4,000 mortgage professionals around the country have automated credit proofreading tools to identify and resolve data and usage errors within credit files.

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