09 Apr 2018 Millions of UK adults looking to apply for a mortgage, credit, a new mobile phone contract, or even a better utility deal, risk being rejected because of false errors on their credit reports, says Amigo Loans.
The UK’s largest guarantor lender’s latest research has found that 42% of people who check their credit report find mistakes, the equivalent to almost 10 million people across the country.
While small errors such as misspelt addresses are unlikely to have major consequences, an incorrect non-payment mark can be the difference between getting a mortgage or loan and being turned down.
Despite so many errors being found, just one in seven know how to report them to a credit rating agency. Almost one in ten spoke with their bank/provider, which cannot help and a similar number (8%) turned to family and friends for advice. 11% admit they took no action at all, with 5% admitting they had no idea how to correct it.
The study also found that only two in five (41%) of people have actually checked their credit report, with just one in five (21%) looking in the past month. This means the number of people with errors on credit reports could be far in excess of 10 million.
Kelly Davies, Chief Communications Officer at Amigo Loans: “The message is really simple – check your credit file for mistakes and get them sorted! You might be turned down for a mortgage or credit because of a silly error. We’d like to see this system changed. It’s not an easy job with a number of different credit reference agencies, all holding slightly different information, using words and formats people aren’t familiar with. But it’s worth a bit of effort.”
Top tips for improving your credit score:
- Double check you’re on the electoral register. Lenders use the electoral register to confirm an individual’s address and location and fight against identity fraud.
- Try not to have a high balance on your credit card. Lenders may view this as excessive debt and think you have an inability to repay.
- Make sure to pay your bills on time, or ahead of time, a good credit score will be built up over time.
- Do not make multiple applications for credit as this can impact your record negatively.
- If you notice anything unexpected on your credit report you could be a victim of identity fraud, i.e. someone could have applied for credit in your name, contact the credit reference agency who will try to resolve the issue, alongside the lender.
- Only apply for credit which is necessary – applying for more than four a year can lower your score.
- Cancel old credit card agreements and out of date credit cards, such as store cards you no longer use, as this will still show on your file. Lenders will be cautious about the possible size of your debt.
- If you are divorced or separated, cut all financial ties and make sure your former partner’s details are eliminated from any joint accounts. The credit history of anyone you are financially associated with, such as a joint bank account with a spouse, can affect your credit rating.