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Tuesday, 28th April 2009
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Credit file / rating Q&As
With thousands of individuals applying for credit every day for loans, mortgages, credit cards, mobile phones etc., lenders will do a credit search on you to establish whether you have the means and ability to repay the loan. To do this they use a credit reference agency, such as Experian or Equifax. They will also consider the information you supply on your application form.
How do these credit reference agencies help lenders decide if you are an acceptable risk?
Their decision is based upon the information held on the Electoral Roll (to confirm identity), records of County Court Judgements (CCJ's), Bankruptcies and payment records on current and previous credit accounts that are held by the Credit Reference Agencies.
What can you do if you are refused?
The lender is under no obligation to give you reasons why, however, for loan applications of up to £15,000, individuals have the right to know which agency supplied the information on which the decision may have been based, provided you request this information within 28 days of the initial application.
Disassociation - what is this?
If there is financial information on your file about people in your family with whom you have no financial connection, or people who have never been part of your family, you can write to the agency in question asking them to disassociate yourself from them. The agency may wish to make some enquiries or checks to make sure that you are not just trying to avoid a bad credit record.
Unless the agency has a good reason to doubt what you tell them, it must not continue to give lenders information about the other people that you have mentioned. You need only write to the agency that supplied you with your file, since disassociation information will be shared between the other main agencies.
What if the information is incorrect?
If the information is correct you cannot expect them to change it because it is embarrassing, only if it is incorrect can you do the following:
Notice of Correction
If you are unhappy with the response or would just like to explain the information on your file you can send a Notice of Correction. This is a statement of up to 200 words that will be added to your file as long as it isn’t defamatory, frivolous or incorrect. Again the agencies have 28 days to respond.
If still no action, resend the Notice of Correction. If information is amended the agency must send details to any lender who has enquired in the last 6 months.
If an agency declines your Notice of Correction it must refer to The Information Commissioner, details given below.
|Equifax Europe (UK)
Department I E
PO Box 3001
Phone: 0870 514 3700
Consumer Help Service
PO Box 8000
Phone: 0870 241 6212
|The Information Commissioner
Protect yourself from identity fraud
Have you ever been a victim of fraud? Have your card details been used for fraudulent transactions? Has an organisation you deal with recently lost or leaked sensitive data? Have you recently lost any personal documents, or had them stolen?
Any one of these circumstances increases your risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud. For £20 a year, Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (CIFAS) Protective Registration reduces that risk. Run by Equifax on behalf of the - You can read more here Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (CIFAS)
Basically it means that when an application for credit is made then there will be additional checks to what is already in place. The cost for this is £20.00 per year.