I have problems with my credit history - can I repair my credit file?

By: emma.sutherland     Approved by the Car Finance Advisory Board

We all go through tough financial times from time to time, and it’s important to stay on top of it before your credit file becomes too negatively affected. If you’ve already got Bad credit and are looking to repair your credit file, there are some easy and simple steps to take to get back on your feet.

I wish to repair my credit file; how do I remove a credit search from my file that I didn't agree to?

When you apply for any kind of credit, be it a mobile phone or a mortgage, a credit search will be done on your file. As part of this search, it will flag up all of your credit history you may have had in the past, going back 6 years. This information includes any previous credit searches from the last 12 months, and lenders have been known to deem multiple searches within a short period of time as being unattractive as it can potentially show you as a credit hungry consumer.

All too often, people are afraid of credit searches and this can be an unnecessary worry for most. If you've missed payments or have CCJs or defaults, these will be the factors causing credit issues, not the searches.

When you're making steps to repair your credit file, if you think you have a credit search that you haven’t agreed to or didn’t know about in the first place, it’s worth talking to the company who searched your credit file in the first place, and request the search be removed. If they agree, they'll then instruct the credit agencies such as Experian and Equifax to remove the search from your file. There are some instances where the lender will decline to remove the search.

Sometimes you can’t avoid searches, but if you're careful about who you apply for credit from and the frequency of applications, you will soon start to see a much healthier credit rating.

A huge advantage of applying for car finance with Creditplus is that on initial application we won't run a full search on your credit file. Instead we run a 'quotation search', also known as a 'soft search' on every initial application. Although this still leaves a note on your file, it doesn’t leave a search footprint and will in no way affect your future credit worthiness. We run the soft search in order to get an idea of who you are and which lenders would be most likely to lend to you. (To clarify further, a soft search is just a view of your file, rather than a full search for it). You can learn more about our Ethical Lending policy here.

Once we have the information from the soft search, we can then contact you and get your permission to send your car finance application to the most relevant lender who will then run a full credit search. We call this approach 'Ethical Lending'.

How can I correct the information a credit agency holds about me?

Every now and then you may find a mistake on your credit file, and this can lead to Bad credit if it’s not amended. If your personal details (Name, Address, etc.) are wrong, you'll need to  contact the creditor directly who'll then make changes which will then prompt changes back to the main credit agencies who issued your report.

Alternatively, if there seems to be a mistake on your credit history, to help repair your credit file the credit agencies usually offer the ability to investigate any problems you might have found. You can contact them directly and they can place a note on your credit file, pointing out that a specific point has been questioned. They will then proceed with checking with the lender and verifying what’s right or wrong about the entry on your report.

In the case where the creditor still doesn’t agree to an amendment, you have the right to leave a 'Notice of Correction', which is a 200 word note stating any further information you might want future lenders to know about that specific entry on your credit file. You can find out more information regarding this on our Credit Clinic Treatment page

Should I use a company that offers to repair my credit file?

There are companies who claim they can help you repair your credit file, but these businesses often charge for information and services which can be found for free elsewhere.

There are organisations such as StepChange (formerly the Consumer Credit Counselling Service) and the Citizens Advice Bureau who can point you in the right direction, and offer free advice as to how to deal with your debt. We offer all of our best tips to help you repair your credit profile on our Credit Clinic Treatment page. We also provide a list of great impartial resources for you to use to repair your credit.

If a company claims they can remove information from your credit file for a fee in order to repair your credit, you should keep in mind that lenders must be contacted about removing information from your credit file. They will then instruct the credit reference agencies of the change. No credit repair company is able to get past these steps and when repairing your credit file, it can often be easier to make the changes yourself, reducing the number of steps.

Published: 16/05/2016
Last Updated:19/07/2016
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