Error In Your Credit Report? How To Fix It
You’ve sailed through uni, bagged your first job and now you’re thinking about getting yourself on the property ladder. Or perhaps you’re in need of a little extra credit in order to finance home improvements. Either way, when it comes to borrowing money, it’s vital that your credit report is as squeaky clean as possible.
As illustrated above, there are many points in our lives when we turn to lenders to help us move forward with particular projects. However, whereas once you may have been able to get a mortgage with a less than rosy credit report, these days it’s much more difficult – and the same applies to getting a credit card too.
See Your Credit Report
Before applying for credit, it could make sense to check your credit report and see what lenders are likely to see. Then you can correct any errors, or even if there are issues such as past slow payments or historical debt problems, you will know what your credit file reveals and can be ready to make any explanations – you may even be able to add an explanation on your credit file (this is allowed). You can see what’s on your file here see your credit report.
Error on Your File
So, what happens when you take a look at your credit report to ensure you’re in a good position to proceed with a credit application, only to discover there’s a mistake on your file? An error. A big black ‘X’ against your financial history. Call it what you will, if it’s a glaring mistake and one that you want removed, there’s no need to sit back and suffer in silence. If you do decide to take this first option you can wave goodbye to being offered a mortgage, credit card or loan. If you’re not so happy to have this black mark against your name, it’s time to take matters into your own hands…
First things first, you need to contact the company that has lodged this black mark on your file. Once you’ve found their contact details, phone them and explain the situation. It’s wise to then follow this up with a letter (and send it by recorded or special delivery so you can be sure it gets delivered). Keep copies of all the correspondence you send, and if you’ve got relevant information which proves that this is indeed a mistake on your file, then make sure you send a copy of that along with your letter too.
If you’ve got solid proof that this is indeed a mistake on your file, the matter should be resolved relatively quickly. In fact, it’s usually a process that can be sorted out in 28 days. In this time, the company is required to amend the mistake both on its files and the credit agencies’. You should also be notified that this amendment has taken place and the error has been rectified.
When Things Aren’t So Simple…
If you aren’t able to sort out the problem with the company, you’ll need to contact the credit agency that’s displaying the error. To do this, make sure you have a printed copy of your credit report – there will be a charge for this, unless you’re able to make use of a free trial.
Once the credit agency has the information of the error, they will be able to review it. This may well require an investigation so isn’t always as quick as you may wish it to be. However, if the credit agency is able to find in your favour, that it is indeed a mistake, then they will amend your file accordingly – and there will be nothing else for you to do on your part.
When there’s an error on your file with one credit agency, it will most probably be the case that there’s an error on your file with all of the credit agencies. So, if you’ve got information from Experian, it’s a good idea to then check Equifax and Call Credit too.
If, for example, Experian’s investigation has found that there is an error on your file, it will let the other two credit reference agencies know so that they can update their information too. However, if you’re a thorough sort of person there’s no harm in contacting them yourself and providing them with the documentation to prove the error should be removed. This may well speed up the process and ensure your credit report gets back to how it should be as soon as possible. The information in consumer credit reports is similar for all the main agencies.
When They Won’t Budge…
If, however hard you try, the credit agencies refuse to remove this information from your file, all is not completely lost. You are able to create your own statement which will be attached to your credit file for lenders to see. This 200-word statement is your chance to present your side of things and it will become part of your credit file. While, this obviously isn’t the ideal outcome, it is at least your chance to have your say. Keep it professional, concise, and weighted in fact and you've got a good chance it will be taken into consideration.