A third of Americans found errors on their credit reports. Here's how to fix those mistakes

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Before you take out a mortgage or car loan, check your credit report.

It may have a mistake that could cost you.

It's not as uncommon as you may think. More than one-third, or 34%, of Americans found at least one error on their credit report, according to a new Consumer Reports investigation. Consumer Reports asked volunteers to get a copy of their credit report and check for errors and 5,858 did so between Feb. 1 and April 1.

Twenty-nine percent found personal information errors and 11% found account information errors.

Mistakes about personal information may not hurt your credit score, but could make it more difficult or impossible to access your credit report, said Consumer Reports policy analyst Syed Ejaz. Mistakes about account information, on the other hand, can damage your credit score.

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That three-digit number has a direct impact on your ability to get loans, such as a mortgage, and what interest rate you will pay.

"Unfortunately, sometimes folks find out way too late, when they are in the middle of getting a loan for a new house or car," Ejaz said.

"That is why it is really important to make sure you check your credit report and assess it for accuracy."

The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the major credit reporting companies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, issued a lengthy statement in response to Consumer Reports' findings. It called the story "completely false and misleading" and said the industry has a 98% accuracy rate.

A third of Americans found errors on their credit reports. Here's how to fix those mistakes