How to remove mistakes from your credit report

To fix a mistake on your credit report, you need to contact the lender or credit reference agencies to ask them to update it. This may result in a boost to your credit score.

6 min read
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Why should you check your credit report for mistakes? 

A credit report summarises information on financial accounts you’ve had and your history of repayments. Lenders use this report to consider credit applications, like for a credit card or loan 

In the UK, there are three main credit reference agencies (CRAs) that create these reports: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each CRA uses your report to calculate your credit score, based on their own criteria, to give you an idea of how likely lenders are to accept your credit application.  

If there are any mistakes or outdated information on your report, lenders will have an inaccurate view of your financial habits and circumstances. This means you may be rejected for credit or get a different deal from what you expected. 

What details should you check on your credit report? 

  • Personal details – Your full name, date of birth, and current address should be up to date. It’s also worth double-checking that any previous addresses are accurate.  

  • Credit accounts – All credit card accounts, and other credit agreements like loans or utility payments should be on your report, with details of your balances and limits. Make sure you recognise all accounts and any debts reported. 

  • Court claims – If you have a Country Court Judgment (CCJ), Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA), Debt Relief Order (DRO), or bankruptcy, make sure all details are updated. Check the full balance owed, and if it’s satisfied or unsatisfied.  

  • Overdraft usageYour bank will report any overdraft you’ve used in your current account. Check the amount is accurate. 

  • Financial ties – When you share a credit agreement with someone, your credit reports are linked. If you no longer have this agreement, make sure to remove the outdated financial tie, as they may affect your chances of getting credit if they have bad credit themselves.  

Additionally, if there’s any information missing from your report, report it to your lender or credit reference agency. If, for example, you have a well-managed credit account but it isn’t on your report, your credit score won’t benefit from it. 

Bear in mind that new accounts can take a few weeks to show up on your file. 

How do you remove an error from your credit report? 

While you can’t wipe your credit history clean, you can follow the steps below to get mistakes removed from your credit report:  

1. Get your paperwork together 

If you spot a mistake on your credit report, check your records to make sure it is a genuine error. 

Your first port of call is the lender who has reported the information. Before you contact them, gather all your paperwork as evidence. Your lender will usually need this to be able to update your records. 

For example, if you got married and your surname has changed, they’ll need a copy of your marriage certificate. If you want to challenge a missed payment, they might ask for a copy of your bank statement to prove you made the payment. 

2. Contact the lender 

Contact your lender as soon as possible to challenge the mistake you’ve spotted, as it can take several weeks to update your credit report. 

Lenders might ask you to mail in your paperwork. You could also ask if they will accept screenshots via email to speed up the process. 

There’s no guarantee they will accept your dispute. It also depends on what you are challenging and if there’s sufficient proof that a genuine mistake has been made.  

3. Contact the credit reference agency 

You can also ask the credit reference agency to get in touch with your lender about any mistakes you find. Bear in mind that they can only update your credit report with the lender’s permission. 

Again, you need to explain why the entry is incorrect, and there’s no guarantee your dispute will be accepted. Credit reference agencies should add a notice of correction to your credit report in the meantime to let other lenders know you’ve raised an error. 

Update old financial ties through a notice of disassociation 

To get old financial ties removed from your credit report, you will need to apply to the credit reference agency for a notice of disassociation.  

Anyone you have had joint finances with could be damaging your credit report if they have a poor credit history themselves. Just make sure you close any joint accounts beforehand, or the agency won’t be able to process your request. 

Remember that each of the three main credit reference agencies in the UK (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) holds different information about you. They work separately, so you will need to contact each one individually. 

If the information is correct

You may be able to contact the lender to remove or clarify information on your report.  

Your lender is not obligated to agree to remove anything from your report when you ask. It’s purely down to their own discretion, but they may take certain factors into account. These include: 

  • If you have a positive payment history with them 

  • If you’re a loyal customer 

  • If there’s a good reason for your request 

Keep in mind most marks on your report are automatically removed after six years. 

How to request a lender remove information from your report 

Outlining steps to correct what led to the mark in the first place (like setting up a Direct Debit so you don’t miss future payments) can help your case.  

You could also ask the credit reference agencies to add a notice of correction on your file to explain why you got into debt in the first place (e.g., redundancy or sickness).  

Lenders may remove smaller marks, like a single missed payment, but are unlikely to remove CCJs or bankruptcies. 

Can I get credit with a poor financial history? 

There are some credit brokers, like Ocean Finance, who specialise in considering all circumstances when checking eligibility for credit cards and loans. This means you don’t have to wait six years for defaults to drop off your credit report before you can get finance. 

If you’re struggling with debt, you can access free financial advice and support from a professional debt specialist. Visit Money Wellness, StepChange, Citizens Advice, National Debtline, or Money Helper to find out more. 

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