Credit Building


What You Need to Know About Disputes

Disputing inaccurate information that you find on your credit report is a great first step towards building strong credit. Understanding how to dispute is also an important skill to sustain healthy credit over the long-term. Work with a coach and make sure that you are only disputing items that are actually incorrect. Trying to dispute valid debts in order to improve credit scores is considered fraudulent practice in the credit industry.


  • Myth: If you dispute a negative item on your report it will disappear temporarily and you can get your application approved before it reappears.
    • Fact: Accounts that are currently in dispute may temporarily not impact a credit score, but it will still show up on the report. This is not an appropriate strategy for trying to seek loan approval.
  • Myth: You need to dispute each mistake with each bureau.
    • Fact: If an account that is disputed is listed on reports from multiple bureaus, the bureau that you dispute with will inform the others to remove the account.
  • Myth: You can’t dispute everything on one credit report with just one letter.
    • Fact: You can list everything that you would like to dispute on a credit report in one single letter. For best results also include a copy of the report with your dispute letter, circling everything that is inaccurate.
  • Myth: You can require documentation from the bureaus for anything on your report you don’t recognize.
    • Fact: The credit bureaus cannot provide you with documentation about the validity of any of your information. If you are seeking proof that you owe a debt, you will need to request a debt validation directly from the creditor that is listed on the report. If that creditor is unable to validate your debt, you can dispute it with the bureaus.


Watch Out for Fraudulent Advice/Strategies

  • FRAUD: Paying off collections and asking creditor to remove the account – or paying extra fee to have a collection agency remove an account (Violates FCRA accuracy requirement).
  • FRAUD: Dispute anything negative on your report and most will probably fall off, even if they are accurate.
  • FRAUD: Create a new credit identity with an Employer Identification Number (EIN) instead of your SSN for a fresh start.
  • FRAUD: Buy an “Authorized User” position on a stranger’s credit card who has a good repayment record to boost your own score.








The City of Seattle provides the primary funding for the Mercy Corps Northwest IDA Business Grant program and 0%-Interest Microloan program.  Through the Office of Economic Development, the City has outreach teams on the ground in disadvantaged and underserved areas working with Mercy Corps Northwest to deliver the technical assistance and financial services entrepreneurs need to launch, maintain, and grow their businesses.

Whether you are a new entrepreneur, an experienced business owner, or managing a company, the Seattle Public Library has services that can help you succeed.  Staff meet one-on-one with you to size up your industry, discover customer demographics, find information about markets, improve your business skills, and find referrals to other business assistance organizations.