- Old names and addresses stay in your credit report indefinitely, and there’s usually no need to remove this information as long as it’s accurate
- It’s important to make sure the personal information in your credit report is correct and up to date
- If you need to make corrections, you may need to contact one or all of the credit bureaus, as well as some of your creditors
- In the case of identity theft, you should take additional steps to protect yourself
Your credit report contains a long history of your debts and personal information. Lenders, landlords and others rely on this information when evaluating your financial stability and credit risk, so it’s critical to ensure this information is up to date and accurate.
Although your address and name are less important to creditors than your debts and payment history, keeping these personal details current in your credit report can protect you from identity theft and delays in getting approved for new credit. Having an old name or address on your report isn’t necessarily an issue, but it’s still important to know how to deal with these situations and ensure your credit report is in good shape.
After you move or change your name, it’s a good idea to review your credit report for any outdated information and follow up with lenders and credit bureaus as needed.
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How To Correct Outdated Names And Addresses On Your Credit Report
If you do discover an incorrect name or address on your credit report, you should take a few steps to correct the issue.
1. Contact The Credit Bureaus
The credit bureaus don’t create the information that’s in your report — they simply report what’s given to them. However, even though they may not be responsible for addressing the issue directly, the credit bureaus can tell you where they got the information so you can follow up with that company.
When you find an error on one bureau’s report, be sure to check your reports from the other two to determine if you need to contact all three. You can reach each bureau at the following numbers:
- Equifax: 1-888-378-4329
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872
You can also review each credit report, from all three bureaus, by requesting copies at AnnualCreditReport.com. It is completely free to access your report here.
If you’re concerned about possible identity theft, you can request a freeze on your credit file with each bureau while you investigate. This will prevent anyone from opening new credit in your name.
2. Contact Your Creditors
Once you know which companies actually submitted the outdated or incorrect info to the credit bureaus, you can reach out to them and request that they update their files and submit new information. Ensuring that all your creditors, employers and landlords are submitting current addresses and names will help you keep your credit report up to date.
3. File A Dispute If Needed
If the above steps don’t resolve the issue, you may need to file a formal dispute with any credit bureaus that have incorrect information. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers guidance on how to do this with each credit agency, whether you prefer to file a dispute online, over the phone or by mail. You may also need to file disputes with the creditors that submitted incorrect information.
Remember, your credit report will contain old addresses and names indefinitely, so there’s no need to dispute these if they’re correct. Your goal should be to ensure that your current name and address are accurate and that no PII in your credit report reflects names or addresses that have never been associated with you. If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission offers some helpful first steps.
Can You Remove Outdated Personal Information From Your Credit Report?
Your credit report contains current and past information about any existing or closed debts, such as mortgages, credit cards, student loans and auto loans. It shows whether you’ve made late payments or defaulted on any loans, how much credit you’re using, and your employment history. It also includes personal identifying information (PII) such as your name, address and Social Security number.
To make sure your information is current and accurate, it’s good to get in the habit of checking your credit reports. You can always request a free annual copy of your report from each bureau by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com, and you can even do so weekly until the end of 2023 due to federal COVID-19 regulations.
If any of the information on your credit report is inaccurate, whether it’s financial data or PII, you can request to have it removed. Typically, you’ll need to talk to the creditors that reported the erroneous information, but you can also file a dispute with any of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Why Is Your Old Name And Address Still On Your Credit Report?
Old names and addresses are on your credit report because they were reported at one time. Unlike derogatory information like late payments or bankruptcies, which fall off your credit report within seven to 10 years, PII usually stays on your credit report indefinitely.
When you move and update your address with credit card companies and other lenders, they will report your new address to the credit bureau, but your old address will remain in your credit history. The same is true if you update your name due to marriage, divorce or other reasons.
It’s also important to note that your credit report can include addresses for places where you never actually lived. If you used a work address or P.O. box for billing with some companies — or you have opened loans or credit lines jointly with another person — these addresses may also end up in your credit history.
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Why You Should Update Personal Information In Your Credit Report
Most of the time, having old names and addresses in your credit report isn’t cause for concern. In most cases, simply ensuring that all creditors, employers and landlords have your current name and address is sufficient, as they will update your information with the credit bureaus.
However, it’s important to ensure the credit bureaus have your correct current address for mailing purposes. If they default to an old address, sensitive mail may go somewhere you no longer live or work, exposing your PII and increasing your risk of identity theft. It’s also important to ensure all bills go to the correct address so you don’t miss any payments. Finally, you may run into delays when applying for new credit if your current address doesn’t match what’s on your credit report.
If you see an address or name you don’t recognize on your credit report, that’s more of a red flag than outdated information. This may be a sign of identity theft, and you should contact the credit bureau immediately to learn who reported this information so you can investigate further.
Around a third of Americans experience identity theft at some point in their life. While it may seem uncommon, it isn’t, and it’s important to watch out for.
Keep Up With Your Credit Report
People move regularly, and name changes are a common part of life. If you find outdated information on your credit report, it’s not necessarily cause for alarm. Review your report regularly and take the necessary steps to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate. Be sure to take immediate action whenever you suspect identity theft to protect your sensitive information and financial livelihood.
By staying on top of your credit report, you can prevent problems down the road and ensure it’s smooth sailing when you need to apply for credit.
Will Updating My Old Name And Address Affect My Credit Score?
Personal identifying information doesn’t affect your credit score, so updating your name and address won’t have an impact. Factors that influence your score include the number and types of accounts, payment history, and how much of your available credit you use.
How Long Can An Old Address Stay On Your Credit Report?
Old names and addresses stay in your report indefinitely, so it’s normal to see previous home and work addresses, as well as any other addresses you’ve used for billing, in your credit report.
Find out more
- Challenging Credit Report Errors: Discover how to challenge items on your credit report for accurate personal information.
- Credit Score Monitoring: Consider the best credit score monitoring services to track updates.
- Understanding Credit Repair: Learn about what is credit repair.
- Credit Repair Company Choices: Explore best credit repair companies.
- Credit Repair Costs: Get insights into the cost of credit repair.
- Building Credit Effectively: Tips on how to build credit.
- Credit Score Factors: Understand what affects credit score.
- Good Credit Score Insights: Learn about what is a good credit score.