Having a CCJ on your credit file can seriously affect your credit history, making it difficult to get credit in the future.
How long does a CCJ stay on my credit report?
A CCJ (County Court Judgment) will stay on your credit report for six years, even if you pay it off in the meantime. In this case, it will be marked as “settled” but will still be visible. After six years, it will no longer appear on your credit report, regardless of whether you've paid it or not.
What happens if I don’t pay a CCJ?
If you don't pay a CCJ, you could face further action from the creditor. This could include bailiffs coming to your home to repossess your stuff or having a charge placed on your property. In some cases, creditors can make an 'attachment of earnings' application, which, if successful, means money will be deducted from your wages or benefits to settle the debt.
Will settling my CCJ improve my credit score?
Settling a CCJ won't improve your credit score straight away, but the older it gets, the less impact it will have. You might have to wait a couple of years to see an improvement due to settling your CCJ.
However, if you do settle your CCJ, it will be marked on your credit report as "settled" - this will look a lot better to lenders than an unsettled CCJ.
Can I get a CCJ removed from my credit report?
The only way to get a CCJ removed from your credit report is to pay it off as quickly as possible and no later than one month after receiving it. If you do this, you can apply to have it removed. You’ll need to send form N443 to the court that issued the CCJ and ask for a certificate of cancellation. There's a fee of £15 to make the application, but those on a low income might not have to pay.
Once a month has passed, the only other way you might get the CCJ removed is by applying for it to be "set aside". You can only do this if you genuinely weren't aware of the CCJ because the paperwork went to the wrong address, or you've already settled the debt with the creditor. To apply to have a CCJ set aside, you'll need to fill in form N244 and pay a fee of £255. Having a CCJ set aside doesn't make the debt disappear - you'll still owe it - and the creditor can still come after you for the money.
Unfortunately, there’s no other way of removing a CCJ from your credit file.
The bottom line…
If you’re struggling to pay your debts and you’re concerned it could lead to a CCJ, the best thing you can do is speak to your creditors. They'll usually work with you to arrange a payment plan that you can afford before it gets to court. If you do get a CCJ, minimise the impact by acting quickly and paying it off or coming to an arrangement for its repayment. Ignoring it won't make it go away and could seriously impact your credit report for a long time, making it very difficult to get further credit.
Although a CCJ will harm your credit file, you can still keep it healthy in other areas. Ensure you're on the electoral roll at your current address, ensure you're meeting payments for other debts, and hold off applying for any more credit until you've sorted it.
Read on to see how missing one payment can affect your credit score.
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