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Getting hold of your credit report

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You might be aware of your credit report, but how many of us actually check it on a regular basis? There are a number of benefits to keeping an eye on your file, especially if you’re about to make a credit application. How do you get hold of your credit report and what areas should you be checking?

There are three credit reference agencies in the UK: CallCredit, Equifax and Experian. They all hold slightly different information about you and your credit history. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check the details with each one.

Your credit report

You’re entitled to access your own credit file whenever you want and it doesn’t matter how many times you check it, as details won’t be recorded for potential lenders to see. The cost of each report is £2, but there are often ways of doing so for free. Both Experian and Equifax offer free 30 day trial periods where you can view your credit report as many times as you like. If you sign up for one of these, make sure you’re aware of the cancellation terms. If you don’t cancel the trial within the required time, you could be charged the monthly fee to continue the service. CallCredit provide a completely free service.

What should you check?

Credit reference agencies hold a great deal of information about consumers across the country and sometimes elements can be incorrect. It’s important that we all make time to check the data they have; as if anything’s wrong it could effect your future credit applications. This could range from a cancelled card still showing up, a paid off loan still having a balance on it or address details being wrong. However, there’s also the risk that your identity could have been used fraudulently to apply for credit.

You need to ensure that all the details they have about your past and present credit products are right and that it doesn’t state you’ve missed payments when you haven’t.credit report Inactive accounts can cause problems, especially if you’ve forgotten to update your address details. If any accounts you no longer use are classed as active, contact the provider to close them down. It’s important that you’re not financially linked to anyone you don’t know, which can occur if address or other contact details have been entered incorrectly. When you’re viewing your credit report, check through all the details carefully and query anything that you don’t think is right.

How to get information changed

If anything on your credit report is inaccurate, then it’s vital that you get it altered as soon as possible. In the first instance, contact the agency and tell them exactly what’s wrong. If it’s possible, providing supporting information could help speed up the process. They then have 28 days to resolve the situation satisfactorily. In the meantime, the data will be flagged as ‘disputed’, which will make any potential lenders aware of the problem. If they fail to do so, you can send them a notice of correction. This will be put on your file and explains what’s wrong and any mitigating circumstances. You can also complain to the Financial Ombudsman if you’re still having issues.

Your credit report is basically your passport to obtaining credit. Details can often be inaccurate, so you need to keep a check on it or it could end up costing you in declined applications.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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