Your credit history can also be known as your financial CV. Finding time to monitor your credit score is vital if you are keen to preserve or improve your credit score. The importance of credit history has become paramount in recent years not only if you are searching for credit but also if you are:
- Looking to open a basic bank account
- Looking to get insurance
- Looking to get a permanent job
- Looking to start a business
- Looking to get accredited from a professional body
- Looking to rent a property
- Looking to buy a property
- Looking for a telephone contract
- Looking to get a good deal on your utility bills etc.
Having a good credit score can help you qualify for the best interest rates and terms when you borrow money as well as influencing how much you pay for life insurance. If you live in rented accommodation and look to move to a new house, landlords will look at your credit score before proceeding with the agreement. When checking your credit score, you will be able to see a list of specific factors that could be affecting your rating, focusing on these factors is the best way to start improving your credit score.
Your credit history comprises of following:
Personal Information Section
- Electoral Information
- Link Addresses and Previous Addresses c. Financial Associations
- Credit Searches
- Gone Away Information
Public Information Section
- County Court Judgments
- Court / Administration Orders
- Insolvency Details (IVA / DRO etc)
- Bankruptcy Information
Credit Information Section
- Over Drafts
- Credit Cards
- Personal Loans
- Hire Purchase
- Telephone Contracts
- Utility Accounts
Any adverse information in personal, public and credit information section has an impact on your credit score. However the gravity of unfavourable record on public and credit information section is higher than the same in personal information section.
Factors Behind your Credit Score
The calculation behind your credit score is complex and the more you learn about how the reports and scores work the better control you can take over your finances. Here are some important facts to know about credit scores:
- Your credit score will be influenced by a number of factors which include the pattern of payments you have made to credit cards and loans over a period of time, the frequency in which you apply for credit and the amount of credit you have.
- Any negative information on your credit report can lower your score and will remain on your report for a set amount of time. For example, if you make a late payment, that will stay on your credit file for at least six years.
- Even if you were to pay off the debt it will still stay on your file for this period. Having an outstanding amount on your credit card each month will not help to build your credit rating, you can pay off your balance each month and that will have a positive impact on your score.
- Settling your accounts for less than the amount you owe can be harmful on your credit score. However, the negative impact of a settlement is less than the negative impact of not paying debts or declaring yourself bankrupt.
our other top tips to improve Credit Score
- Get on Electoral: Getting on the electoral role will improve your credit score because it is a good way for credit reference agencies to check you are who you say you are and confirm where you live. It is important to always ensure if you have moved to a new house that you update your address with the electoral role.
- Disassociate with Financial Partners: If in the past you have taken out a joint bank account or a joint mortgage, you become ‘financially linked’ to the person you have taken it out with and therefore if they have a poor credit rating, it could impact yours too. If you have split up with your partner, husband or wife or if the financial product is no longer joint, inform the credit reference agencies of your disassociation to stop any current or possible future impact on your credit score.
- Space-out Credit Applications: Every time a credit search is made by a lender the credit reference agency will be notified. If you do intend to apply for credit, be aware that the more searches carried out within a short space of time, the less likely you are to be accepted and your credit score could be affected.
- Close the Unused Accounts: The amount of credit you have access to can sometimes affect your credit score as well as the actual debt you owe. If you have any unused store cards, mobile contracts and credit cards that you don’t use anymore, contact the provider and request that the account is closed.
Where Can We Help
We can offer help by reviewing your credit report, identifying and removing the unfairly marked adverse information we do not justifies being reported. The main areas where we can render help are the following:
- Unfairly Defaults
- Unfairly Marked County Court Judgements
- Unfairly Marked Insolvency Information
Defaults, County Court Judgements and Insolvency information have the highest severity and weightage on your credit file. These are the biggest hinderance in your way to get credit. We can check the fairness of each on your behalf and request the supplier/producer to remove any element which was unfairly marked.
What is a Default?
A Default occurs when an account has had consecutive missed payments and is subsequently closed by the lender. When the lender considers that the relationship between you both has broken down, it can record a default. A Default date will be recorded on your account and it will then remain visible on your credit report for six years from the Default date. After this time has passed, the default is removed from your report automatically - even if the full amount still remains unpaid.
What is an Unfairly Marked Defaults?
We provide professional advice to people who are unfairly treated by their lenders in terms of marking defaults on their Credit Files; this could be either mistakenly or due to an unfair reason.
Default Might Be Marked Against Your Name Mistakenly: If you feel that you are not familiar with the account which the Default is marked against, then it is definitely worth taking the matter up with the reference agencies and respective creditor. In some instances, it may simply be a mix up, as a lot of the cases we receive are caused by people with the same name living at the same address, but it could also be a case of identity fraud (see below). We can verify the unknown accounts with the original lenders on your behalf.
Default Might Be Marked Against Your Name Due to Identity Theft: If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud, you should report it to the relevant fraud departments of the organisations involved. As fraud is a crime, you should also consider reporting the issue to the police - if they are not already aware. However, if a lender has acknowledged that an entry on your credit file relates to a fraudulently operated account, but refuses to remove the entry, we may be able to look into a complaint about the fairness and relevance of this entry remaining. We shall make an official complaint against the lender on your behalf to remove the alleged fraudulent entry from your Credit File.
Default Might Be Marked Against A Disputed Account: There are some instances where a Default is marked against your name for a disputed account. We can help you to retrieve the final response letter from your lender and if your complaint is upheld then the Default will be deleted.
Default Might Be Marked Twice Against One Account: We have experienced some cases where a Default was unfairly marked twice against the same account. The original lender may have closed the account and sold the debt to a debt collection agency and marked the default when the borrower was in breach of the terms of the agreement. After several years, the debt collector then marked a fresh default against the same account. Under the Consumer Credit Act one account can be marked as defaulted only once in its term.
How can we Help?
We can ask your lender to send us the detailed subject access report along with justification for reporting this to credit reference agencies. Any discrepancies found will be reported to the lender and we will make a request on your behalf to remove the information under CNOC 7.13.3 “A firm must endeavour to ensure that the information it passes on to … a credit reference agency is accurate and adequate so as to facilitate the tracing and identification of the true borrower or hirer.”
Under the light of Consumer Credit Source Book Chapter 7 (Arrears, Defaults and Recovery) and Principles for reporting Arrears, Arrangements and Defaults on Credit files by Information Commissioner Office (ICO) Guidelines, if we evaluate that it is unfair for a Default to be marked on your credit file then, we may request the creditor to remove the default and/or pay compensation for any upset they may’ve caused.
If the original lender is advised about an obvious inaccuracy about the default however, the lender is unwilling to correct, then we may expedite your case with the lender, Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or Information Commissioner Officer (ICO).