Managing your credit can take some work, but it will pay off when you have lower interest rates and more lending options. Unfortunately, incorrect information can occasionally make its way into your credit report and damage your score. Left unresolved, you’ll continue to pay the consequences.
If you notice something incorrect on your credit report, you should write a credit dispute letter, but sometimes that will need to be followed by a Method of Verification letter. Here’s what you should know:
What is a Method of Verification?
If you dispute something on your credit report and the credit reporting agency tells you that the disputed item has been verified, you have the right to request verification in the form of a “method of verification.”
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the credit reporting agency is required to give you method of verification within 15 days of your request. This should be hard evidence that goes all the way back to the original creditor. Don’t settle for verification from a third-party database.
Writing a Method of Verification Letter
If a dispute comes back verified, but with no actual verification or documentation, it is time to send a letter and request it. Follow these steps when writing a Method of Verification Letter:
- Call the credit reporting agency using the phone number at the top of the verification report in question. Give them your credit report number and request the method of verification. Cite FCRA, Section 611. Request hard evidence that goes back to the original creditor and ask for the original creditor’s information. If the person you talk to doesn’t provide that information, write a letter.
- Start the letter by referencing the dispute you filed and the report you received. Include the date at the top of the letter.
- Request the method of verification, and ask for:
- The name of the original creditor
- The address and phone number of the original creditor
- The name of the person at the credit reporting agency who verified the dispute with the original creditor
- The documentation that was used to verify the dispute
- Cite the FCRA, section 611 and ask them to provide verification or reopen the dispute. End the letter with your contact information.
- Send the letter using certified mail to ensure that they receive it and that you have proof of receipt.
The credit reporting agency should get back to you within 15 days. If they do not respond, or if they do not provide verification, send a letter stating your intent to sue and reference FRCA section 616. At this point, it would be wise to contact an attorney to help you proceed with the dispute.
To learn more about repairing your credit and handling disputes, check out our articles on How to Use a Goodwill Letter to Repair Your Credit and How to Write a Credit Dispute Letter To Repair Your Credit.