April is recognized as Financial Literacy Month. On the website there are 30 steps to financial wellness. Even if you don’t get a chance to get started on the April 1st or even in April, the steps can be done at any time. The important thing is to get started. Finances are not such a scary thing, once you figure out what to do.

Step 6 is to Clean up your Credit Report.

If you find an error on your credit reports, you’ll need to know your rights. Your most effective weapon in dealing with the credit bureaus is the FCRA. Legally, the FCRA protects you by requiring credit bureaus to furnish correct and complete information to companies requesting credit histories for evaluation. If you find an error on your report, simply follow these steps:

Write to the credit reporting agency disputing the item and include any supporting documents. Keep a copy of all documents for your files.
When the credit reporting agency receives your letter disputing the item, they must investigate the item in dispute (usually within 30 days) by presenting the information you submit to the creditor.
By law, the creditor must review your evidence and report its findings to the credit bureau.
The credit bureau must then give you a written report of its investigation and a copy of your report if the report results in a change.

You can also fill out an online dispute form provided by the credit bureaus. The Web sites for the three major credit bureaus are:

Equifax – www.equifax.com
Experian – www.experian.com
TransUnion – www.transunion.com

If an item on your report is found to be an error and is corrected, you can request that the credit bureau send corrected copies of your report to any creditor who received your report in the previous six months or any employer who received your report in the previous two years.

If you are not satisfied with the results of a formal dispute, you can also seek resolution with the source of the information. To do this, write to the creditor disputing the incorrect entry. After receiving your letter, the creditor may not report the information without including a notice of your dispute. In addition, once you have notified the source of the error in writing, it may not continue to report the information if it is an error.

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Nancy Kvamme

I had a great time doing a presentation at the NDSU Library today for Money Smart Week.  Money Smart Week is part of Financial Literacy Month and consists of programs offered at libraries throughout the country.  My presentation included tips and ideas on budgeting, tracking your expenses, credit/debit cards, good/bad debt and other topics.

There are presentations scheduled for Wed and Thurs also by Thrivent and The Village Family Service Center.

Nancy Kvamme