No-one has the right to credit, but what do you do if you have been denied credit or you just want to know what's on your credit file?
Before any agreement can be made by a lender they have to establish whether you are a good credit risk or not. A lender will contact credit reference agencies to access your credit worthiness. The main agencies the majority of lenders deal with are Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. These agencies compile credit histories from a variety of different sources including the County Court Judgments (CCJ's), Sheriff Court Declarations (Scotland), the electoral roll and how well previous debts have been paid.
Although you do not have a right to credit you have a right to know which credit reference agency the lender used and to ensure that the information held by that agency is accurate. To obtain this information contact the lender within 28 days and ask which credit reference agency they used. Then contact the agency and ask for a copy of your file.
Having received your file, check it for any inaccuracies. It is in the interest of the agency to store correct and accurate information about you.
If you find any wrong information (note, unwanted information does not count as wrong!) Write to the agency requesting your record is changed. The agency will change the record if it agreements, although you may need to correspond with the company which originally filed the error.
Sometimes you may find that the company will refuse to amend your file. Should this happen you are entitled to enter a "notice of correction" in which add concise factual explanatory information.
It is certainly worth while checking your credit reference file from time to time. Regularly checking your credit report for changes you did not make is one of the best ways to combat identity theft. In addition to this there may be some authorized changes to your report which may affect on you getting a loan, credit card or even mortgage. Remember forewarned is forearmed.
How to get your files?
There are two ways to get your files by post and online. The cheapest way is by post which costs £ 2 per agency. Your right to view your file comes from the Consumer Credit Act and the right to charge you a £ 2 fee for this come from the Data Protection Act. Online, will cost around £ 16 for immediate access to your report or around £ 70 a year for a credit and fraud monitoring service.
Write to the credit reference agencies and ask for a copy of your file. You will have to include certain details. We have done the hard work for you. Just down load the templates, fill them in and post them off.
The following is a simple sample letter to the information you need to check your credit score.
Dear Sir / Madam,
Under section 158 (1) of the Consumer Credit Act I am requesting a copy of my credit report. Please find
enclosed the statutory fee of £ 2.
My personal details are:
Date of Birth:
Your contact details (Phone / Email):
In the last 6 years I have lived at the following addresses:
You can apply online for one off reports or sign up to the various agencies monitoring services using the following links.
Equifax offer three products which help you monitor your credit score and highlight any fraud activity. Its worth checking out the Credit Watch Gold £ 69.99 which offers a 30 day free trial. If you do not want to proceed cancel it.
Experian also offers a free trial and free credit report for its £ 5.99 a month Credit Expert product. Again if you just want a free report sign up and then cancel.
Callcredit's Mycallcredit has two products. A quarterly unlimited access for £ 8.95 or the E-alert which offers a 30 day the free trial and then £ 44.99. Once again this is a great way to get access to your credit file for free. If you're not happy with the service just cancel it.
Be careful of companies which advertise credit repair services. They can not do anything more that you can actually do yourself. There are no magic tricks with credit repair companies except making your cash disappear.