Your credit report provides you with a credit score. When you want to borrow money (eg for a car, furniture, a mortgage or even a credit card) your credit report is how the potential provider will check if you are creditworthy.
Keep an eye on your score
It is important to keep an eye on your credit score and to review your report on a regular basis to ensure your name and details are not being used fraudulently.
If you are thinking of taking out a loan, check your report well in advance. If there are activities there you do not recognise, you can start working on rectifying this immediately: it can take months to prove it was not you and have them removed.
You can request a copy of your credit report from Experian, Transunion or Equifax You have the right to request a free report and do not need to sign up to any monthly subscriptions in order to do this.
The FCA has stated that 17% of people who check their credit report noticed some kind of mistake. The actual number of people with an incorrect credit score may well be higher, as it does not take into account those who have not checked.
If there is a default debt on your credit report, this can stay on your file for six years. If you have a bad credit report, you may be offered a higher interest rate on your facility, or even have your application declined.
Raising a dispute
If you find an error you can contact the organisation who provided the report. You should raise a dispute with them, which can usually be done through their website. It is advisable to provide evidence to confirm the inaccuracy (where possible).
Alternatively, you can contact the supposed lender to whom you owe money, and they can correct it at their end. This is sometimes easier than going through the credit report provider.
If you are contemplating getting a loan, it may be advisable to find ways to increase your credit score. For example, ensure you are on the electoral register, as this adds 50 points to your Experian score. Each provider may calculate your score differently, so it is worth spending a few minutes checking each one.
We are happy to answer your questions. Send them through the Contact Us page on our website: champconsultants.co.uk.
Chantal Baker is the director and founder of Champ Consultants Ltd, an accountancy and tax consultancy practice in Caterham.
My Facebook group – Growing Businesses – Tips, Help & Advice – provides tips and advice to help grow your business.
(Above: Chantal Baker)