Why Disputes Drop Credit Score

Why Disputes Drop Credit Score

Your credit score is a crucial factor that determines your financial health. It affects your ability to secure loans, credit cards, and even impacts your insurance premiums and job prospects. Maintaining a good credit score is essential, but what happens when disputes arise? Unfortunately, disputing inaccuracies on your credit report can have a negative impact on your credit score. In this article, we will explore why disputes drop credit scores and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

How Disputes Affect Your Credit Score

The process of disputing errors on your credit report begins when you identify incorrect information such as inaccurate account balances, late payments, or even accounts that don’t belong to you. By law, you have the right to dispute these errors and request their removal. However, the act of disputing can lead to certain consequences, including a temporary drop in your credit score.

When you dispute an error, the credit bureaus are obligated to investigate the matter. During this investigation, they mark the disputed item as “in dispute” on your credit report. This label has a significant impact on how your credit score is calculated. The FICO scoring model, which is widely used by lenders, views disputed accounts differently than those that are not disputed.

The FICO model treats disputed accounts as if they don’t exist when calculating your credit score. This means that any negative information associated with the disputed account, such as late payments or high balances, is temporarily excluded from the scoring calculation. Consequently, your credit score may increase during the dispute process, as negative information is temporarily ignored.

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However, it’s important to note that this increase is often short-lived. Once the dispute is resolved, the credit bureaus update your credit report, including any changes resulting from the investigation. If the disputed information is found to be accurate, it will reappear on your credit report, potentially leading to a drop in your credit score.

Why Disputes Drop Credit Scores

Disputes can lead to a drop in credit scores for several reasons. Firstly, when a disputed item is resolved, the credit bureaus update your credit report to reflect the accurate information. If the resolved item was negative, such as a late payment or a high balance, it will appear on your credit report again, causing your credit score to decrease.

Secondly, the removal of inaccurate positive information during the dispute process can also lower your credit score. For instance, if a disputed account was reported as paid off, and it was later determined to be incorrect, the removal of that positive information can negatively impact your credit score.

Lastly, the FICO scoring model considers the number of accounts in dispute when calculating your credit score. Having multiple accounts tagged as “in dispute” can signal financial instability to lenders, resulting in a lower credit score.


Q: Can I dispute multiple items on my credit report at once?

A: Yes, you can dispute multiple items simultaneously. However, keep in mind that each dispute is treated individually, and resolving them may take different durations of time.

Q: How long does a dispute stay on my credit report?

A: A disputed item remains on your credit report but will be marked as “in dispute” until the investigation is completed. Once resolved, the outcome of the dispute will be reflected on your credit report.

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Q: Will disputing errors remove them permanently from my credit report?

A: Disputing errors does not guarantee their removal. If the disputed information is found to be accurate, it will reappear on your credit report.

Q: How long does the dispute process typically take?

A: The investigation process typically takes around 30 to 45 days. However, it can take longer depending on the complexity of the dispute and the responsiveness of the parties involved.

Q: Are there any alternatives to disputing errors on my credit report?

A: If you believe the dispute process is too time-consuming or complex, you can consider seeking assistance from credit repair companies or credit counseling agencies. These entities specialize in helping individuals resolve credit report inaccuracies.

In conclusion, while disputing errors on your credit report is vital, it’s important to be aware of the potential impact on your credit score. Disputes can cause temporary fluctuations in your credit score, and the outcome of the investigation may result in a decrease in your score if disputed information is found to be accurate. It’s crucial to carefully weigh the pros and cons before initiating a dispute and seek professional guidance if needed.