Home > Identity Theft and Scams > Is It a Big Deal If My Name Isn’t Correct on My Credit Report?

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


It’s sometimes entertaining how much people and companies struggle to spell names correctly, and it can result in some hilarious junk mail. (I’m endlessly amused that my father-in-law gets mail addressed to Bawrence or Lawrench. His name is Larry.) But name misspellings aren’t always something to laugh off.

If you pull your credit reports and see something wrong with your name, it could cause you problems or be a sign that someone stole your identity. Even if a name error on your credit report is just that — a mistake — it’s something you should try to fix.

A strange variation in your name could seem suspicious to someone who is manually reviewing your credit reports, like a mortgage lender.

“Is this somebody who regularly uses alternate names to dishonest ends?” Randy Padawer, consumer education specialist with Lexington Law, which represents consumers who want to repair their credit, said. “In a world when creditors aren’t always repaid the money they lend, this might be a cause for concern, even if that concern isn’t too terribly strong.”

First, you want to get your free annual credit reports (like you are already doing on a regular basis, we hope) and review them for accuracy (your names, accounts and everything else). Some variations are perfectly normal, like if you go by Larry even if your full name is Lawrence, but something like an incorrect middle initial or a totally different first name (one you’ve never used) is something to address.

The name variations could be a result of identity theft, a mixed credit file with someone of a similar name or a mere typo. In the case of identity theft, you’ll want to file a police report and monitor your credit for abuse or even freeze your credit to prevent new account fraud. You can get a free credit report summary to help you watch for signs of fraud every 30 days on Credit.com.

To correct information on an account that actually belongs to you, Padawer recommends starting with your credit reports. The name on your account won’t be listed next to the trade line, so you may not be able to tell if one of your creditors is reporting it incorrectly, but you can dispute the incorrect name information. After that’s corrected, consider digging deeper by reviewing your account statements or contacting your creditor to make sure your records are accurate. If disputing the name doesn’t work, you’ll also have to put in a little extra effort to get that fixed.

“You’re going to need to go straight to the data furnisher,” Padawer said. “Ask for a signed copy of the credit application. Ask for full debt validation.” You’re entitled to have your credit report accurately represent your identity, so press the creditor for information on how to correct the name until they do it.

More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:

Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team