Whether you need a mortgage, a personal loan, a mobile phone contract or a new credit card, your credit score is one of the most crucial factors for credit decisions. However, in a Which? Survey of more than a thousand households, 53% said they had never checked their credit score or obtained a credit report.
Given how hard we work to build our credit history and maintain a good credit score, it’s well worth 10 minutes of your time to scan for any errors in your credit file.
Here are the five most common errors that you should check for:
- Wrong residential address – The wrong address on your credit file could mean you might suffer for your neighbor’s mistakes. Check the address especially that the house numbers are correct on your credit report. If you have moved recently, make sure the updated address is reflected on your credit report as well as on the electoral roll. According to Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director at Equifax, “the electoral roll is used by many companies for identity verification purposes to combat identity fraud.”
- Incorrect recording of Bill and Credit Card payments made on time – Credit agencies like Equifax get reports on whether you paid your bill on time or not by utility providers, mobile phone and internet contract services and banks. There have been cases where companies keep charging a customer even after being notified that the customer no longer wishes to receive their services. A wrong entry in your name could well be the difference between an approval and a rejection of a loan application. Make sure there is no outstanding debt or missed payments that are incorrectly recorded in your credit file.
- Incorrect personal information – Check your date of birth and every other private detail on your credit file. It could be a genuine error on the part of the credit bureaus, but there is also a possibility of identity theft. Here are some signs that can tell whether you have been a victim of identity fraud and what to do if you been a victim.
- County Court Judgments and Settlements – If you have ever received a County Court Judgment and settled it within the required time, it is supposed to come off your record. Check whether the information has been recorded correctly by the credit reference agencies.
- Aliases – Got married recently and changed your name? The name changes need to be made in multiple places such as the electoral roll, bank accounts, credit card companies, utility providers and the list goes on. Make sure you have updated the details everywhere on record as multiple names can make companies suspicious about your identity and intent.
If you have discovered a mistake in your credit report, you should contact both the credit bureau (such as Experian) and the organization that provided the information to the bureau (like credit card companies, banks, utility providers). Experian explains the process they follow for correcting mistakes in your credit report here. Keep records of all documents sent. You should then also check your credit report with the other credit reference agencies to ensure that they too do not have the same error.
Check your credit report well in advance of making any applications so that you have enough time for error corrections if required. Have a weak credit score and feeling low? Check out our blog on five easy ways to boost your credit score.