Improve your Credit Rating
Credit Referencing, breaking down your credit file to improve, maintain and monitor your score
The most important information you can provide when looking to apply for credit in any form is your credit report. Making sure you are not complacent about this is very important as you may not know what is recorded about yourself and / or your associations – or what is not recorded in some circumstances.
Improving your credit score can take time and requires patience, this is due to the time it can take for updates and amendments to be registered with the credit reference agencies.
I have out together some guidance for you to work through;
Step by Step Guide
The first stage is to check your file on creditexpert.co.uk equifax.co.uk and callcredit.co.uk – these are the 3 main agencies in the UK. If you are serious about your credit file looking at all three is a good idea. These companies tend to offer the first month free and then will apply a monthly service fee.
Continuing your monthly service fee while you make adjustments is important so that you can monitor the updates and your score.
A light touch version would be to register for one agency rather than all three.
Download & check your Credit Report
Once you have your credit file or files then thoroughly check your personal details – errors here can get you declined. / rejected for lending.
Check that any new accounts and recent searches are correct.
Secondly, work through your personal details. Full name check it for accuracy of the spelling. Middle names will have an impact. Lastly check your date of birth and your current address registered and the time resided.
Previous Addresses & Electoral Roll;
In this section be consistent with your address history along with your name, address and the postcode in the electoral roll section of the report.
When looking at your accounts check all registered credit cards and other commitments. Be sure to review that the transactions are also correct. If you notice any errors you need to contact the agency and get changes updated through a ‘Notice of Correction”.
An ongoing maintenance point would be to use a low percentage of your available credit as a rule of thumb – this will help lower your risk level with the agency. An example would be a £100 balance on a credit card with a limit of £1,000 – this represents 10% used of the available credit. Lower percentage means lower risk.
Late Payments – Late payments go against you and take at least 12 months before they have less impact. As you would expect avoid late payments at all costs. If it is too late and you already have late payments it is vital not to acquire anymore, 6 months of good behaviour may give you a case to argue. If late payments are a result of disorganisation set up automatic direct debits for the minimum payments each month to avoid future problems.
Defaults – These are a big issue and need to be cleared urgently. If they are disputes, clear them and carry on dispute afterwards. Mortgage late payments or defaults will take 12 months of good behaviour to even start to repair and substantially limit your options for lending.
Bankruptcy, CCJ or IVA – In the event any of these circumstances are located on your file then more work is required.
Partners & association with others – If you are separated / divorced and do not have financial links anymore then you can notify the agencies of this event and they will consider disassociation. Beware of others linked to your address who may have poor credit, this can impact your score and profile.
What to do with errors
In the event that an error is spotted leave a trail of getting this corrected so send an e mail, a letter that is recorded and make the phone call. This may be helpful as evidence.
Get alerts from credit reference agencies, using their automatic updates they will send you alerts about your file. Giving you instant updates on any changes to your file via email & text.
Up the score and monitor
Drive your score up with footprints, so use credit wisely. Once your credit file is looking good, keep on top of it through checkmyfile.co.uk which will analyse the data held by all three agencies.
Contact details for the agencies;
NG2 Business Park
Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ
0844 481 8000
Credit File Advice Centre
PO Box 1140
Bradford, BD1 5US
0844 335 0550
TransUnion (Formerly Callcredit)
One Park Lane
West Yorkshire, LS3 1EP
0113 388 4300
Other information – Credit Reference Agency Information Notice (CRAIN);