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How a mistake by a credit reference agency can have an impact on your life
Checking your credit history from time to time makes good financial sense and if you’re planning on making an application for credit, it’s even more important. But if you’ve not checked your credit history recently and you suddenly find there’s something wrong with your report, what can this mean for you?
Mistakes on your credit report can have far-reaching consequences, from not being able to get accepted for a loan, credit card or mortgage to preventing you from getting a mobile phone contract. That’s why whenever you find anything wrong on your report from any of the three main credit reference agencies, it’s important that you get it fixed as soon as possible.
What can happen?
According to the Guardian, when one woman tried to apply for a mortgage, she was rejected despite the fact that she had a strong bank balance and no debt problems. She couldn’t work out why she hadn’t been accepted until she checked her Equifax credit report. The credit reference agency hadn’t recorded her new address properly when she moved house, meaning that lenders couldn’t complete their identity checks when she applied for credit.
And that’s not an isolated case. In another example, a woman saw her Experian credit rating drop when she moved flat. Even though the credit rating calculated by the individual credit reference agencies doesn’t have any direct bearing on whether you’ll be accepted for credit or not, if the data they hold about you is wrong, it could make it harder to get credit.
Last year, research by uSwitch showed that one in three people who had checked their credit report in the previous two years had found mistakes on it. This goes to show how common it can be for something to be wrong with your credit report so if you’ve not checked yours in a while, now could be a good time.
Fixing the errors
If you do find a mistake on your credit report from Experian, Equifax, or CallCredit, your first step should be to get in touch with the lender or company that has made the mistake, whether it’s an incorrect credit card payment or utility bill. If the company agrees that there has been an error, they have to update their records within 30 days. However, if the company doesn’t think that anything’s wrong, it’s up to you to take it up with the credit reference agency.
You can ask for a Notice of Disassociation to be applied to your file if you’re still showing as financially linked to someone you’re no longer in a relationship with. For example, if you opened a joint account with your ex-partner, their credit history could affect your ability to get accepted for credit. A Notice of Disassociation would fix this, providing you no longer share any financial products with your ex.