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mistakes on your credit report

How To Correct Mistakes On Your Credit Report

Going through your credit report with a fine toothcomb is something we should all do every now and then. The information in your credit report is massively important stuff, so making sure it’s accurate is important, too. Credit reference agencies work closely with lenders to check your data and make sure it’s correct before it gets added to your credit report. After all, what good is the information they supply if it’s not up to date and accurate? But, sometimes, an error will fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, even though it probably wasn’t your mistake to start with, it won’t get fixed until you do something about it. So, how do you get started if you need to correct mistakes on your credit report?

The mistakes to look out for

Broadly, the types of mistakes you need to keep an eye out for in your credit report will fall into one of three categories. These are:

  • Missing information
  • Wrong information
  • Extra or odd information

Let’s get into each one of these in a bit more detail.

Missing information

Your credit report brings together information from all sorts of different sources, including the electoral roll and all your creditors, who can include your bank, utilities and mobile phone providers, and finance companies like credit card companies and loan providers. It’s important that the information each of these sources provides to the credit reference agencies is both present and up to date. Missing pieces make it difficult for lenders to paint a consistent picture of who you are when you apply to them, which means they’re less likely to take the risk of lending you money.

Depending on what information is missing, it may not be doing you much harm, but it’s unlikely to be doing you any good, either. Imagine your credit card account doesn’t appear at all on your credit report. That means that the records of you making all your payments on time, or having a large credit limit that you never use more than a quarter of, can’t be used towards your credit history. Evidence of repaying what you borrow and having low credit utilisation are things that boost your credit score and your profile in the eyes of new lenders you apply to. If the information is missing, then you won’t be able to benefit from it.

You might find as you dig into it that the reason your information is missing isn’t a mistake. It may be that your lender or bank doesn’t report to the credit reference agency you’re checking your report through.

Wrong information

The information on your credit report can be quite fiddly and in-depth. There’s a lot there, from opening dates, to payment history, to the people you’re financially associated with to your loan amounts.

Even though there’s a lot to go through, it’s important you make sure everything is correct, as it could have an impact on you applying for credit in the future. Obviously, you’d want to correct an error that made it look like you had a £10,000 credit card balance rather than £100, but even minor typos and spelling mistakes should be corrected, too.

Particularly look out for old information that you think should have dropped off because it’s over six years old, like defaults and satisfied CCJs. Look out for lingering financial associates that you are no longer linked to, too.

Extra or odd information

You may find an account listed on your credit report that you don’t think should be there, or that you don’t recognise at all.

It does occasionally happen that an account can be recorded on your credit report by mistake. The chances of this mistake happening are higher if you share an address with someone of a similar name. For example, if you live with your sibling and you are both “Mr D Jones” because your name is Daniel and his is David, then it’s possible that credit reference agencies could mix you up.

There’s also a chance that over the years, you’ve used slightly varying details when applying for credit accounts, especially if you often go by a shorter version of your full name. Perhaps you’re Alex on one account, and Alexandra on another. This makes it a bit trickier for agencies to be sure they’re dealing with the same person.

Another issue that people occasionally see on their credit report is that one of their accounts is listed twice, making it look like you have more debt than you really do.

Finally, there are the accounts that you don’t recognise at all. You should always be on the alert for an account or record of a search that you don’t recognise, as these could be a symptom of identity theft, with fraudsters applying for credit in your name. If you see a company name you don’t recognise, check first that it isn’t one of your accounts, listed using another trading name or parent company of the company you hold the account with. If you still don’t recognise it, report it as soon as possible.

Correcting mistakes by submitting a dispute

Here at CredAbility, we get our information from Equifax, so we can talk about their process in full. If you get your credit score from another provider, then you should find that their process is quite similar. But, check with them exactly what you need to do.

  1. Get in touch with the credit reference agency. Equifax allow you to raise a dispute by contacting them through their Ask a Question page or by calling 0800 014 2955 or 0333 321 4043. If you use CredAbility, you can easily raise a dispute with Equifax through your account with us. Simply log in, visit our Help Centre and hit the “Raise a dispute” button
  2. Explain the problem. As clearly as you can, explain what the issue with the information you’re disputing is. Be specific, explaining what’s wrong, and why this is wrong. If you have any supporting evidence, then this is the time to send it. With CredAbility, you can add screenshots and upload other documents when raising a dispute to help you explain more clearly. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to simply point out what’s wrong first, and the credit reference agency will get in touch with you to go through the next steps and gather more information.
  3. Contact the lender. The data in your credit report isn’t owned by the credit reference agency, just compiled by them. So, if there’s an issue with data being provided by one of your lenders, the credit reference agency will need to take it up with them. Equifax give lenders and data providers 28 days to respond to them when you raise a dispute, but you can speed things along a bit if you get on the case and contact the lender yourself, too.

While information on your credit report is being disputed, the credit reference agency should add a note to your file explaining this. This note will be visible to any lenders you apply to and who search your credit report while the dispute is still ongoing, so they can decide whether they include the information in their decision or leave it out.

The outcome of your dispute

When you raise a dispute with a credit reference agency, whether this is to Equifax through CredAbility, or through another credit reference agency, then they will pass the details of your dispute on to the lender or data provider who is the source of the data you believe is incorrect. They will then investigate for themselves, and respond to the credit reference agency with the outcome of their investigation. In the majority of cases, the outcome will be either that they’ve already amended the information, that they’re going to amend it but haven’t done yet, or that they can’t or won’t amend the information. The credit reference agency should then get in touch with you to let you know what they’ve been told. If you originally raised your dispute through CredAbility, we’ll get in touch with you, too. 

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