Leading online credit information provider, Equifax, believes that many consumers may not fully understand the extent of their financial commitments, and therefore wants to urge them to review their credit report before applying for new credit, to ensure they are in the best possible position to get the finance they are looking for. This concern comes from recent Equifax research* which reveals that nearly a third of UK consumers who don’t pay off their credit card each month, don’t know their current outstanding balance, and over half don’t know what interest rate they’re paying.
“Lenders make checks with credit reference agencies to see whether an applicant has kept up to date on repaying their credit” explained Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax. “They also use their own ‘credit scoring’ system to decide whether on not to lend to consumers. So it’s vital consumers keep up to date with their financial activity and ensure their credit report is in top condition. Having several credit cards with high limits and missing repayments can be cause for concern for lenders.
“However, not all is lost for consumers whose credit report may be affecting their ability to get credit. At www.equifax.co.uk we offer online advice to people looking to improve their overall credit history. After all, it could be something as simple as not being registered to vote which could affect somebody’s ability to get new credit. But even if it is something more serious, our expert advice is available to help consumers get back on track”.
1. Are you Registered? The electoral roll is used by many companies for identity verification purposes in order to combat identity fraud. It is vital, therefore, that you are registered on the electoral roll at your current address.
2. Are you credit active? Lenders are looking for signs that you are capable of repaying money you have borrowed. Not having many credit cards or loans can affect your credit file. So it’s worth considering opening an account to establish a credit history - even if you pay it off in full at the end of every month.
3. Avoid a high balance Avoid carrying a balance that is more than 30% of your credit limit. Lenders may view this as having too much debt already and that you may not be able to keep up with repayments on new credit.
4. Be Direct It’s easy to forget a payment so set up direct debits and standing orders with your bank will ensure payments go out on time.
5. Early Bird Catches the Worm Try to pay off loans and credit agreements ahead of schedule. Lenders will look favourably on this.
6. Close it Down Make sure any accounts you don’t need or use are closed. Organisations are paying more attention to the total amount of credit available to an individual and whilst you may not be using them, dormant accounts could affect your credit report.
7. Stop Applying If you have been refused credit, obtain a copy of your credit report. But DO NOT carry on applying elsewhere. Each search by a lender will leave a “footprint” on your credit report. Too many searches in a short space of time can be perceived by lenders as you over-stretching yourself financially and could therefore negatively affect your ability to get credit
8. Change of Circumstances If your circumstances have changed and you have had difficulties keeping up with credit payments, then it’s important to say so, for example if you were made redundant or recently divorced and have fallen behind on credit repayments. You can place a Notice of Correction on your credit report explaining the background to any arrears, especially if you have now got back up to date. A lender will review this when assessing any credit applications you make. If you believe a lender/company has provided incorrect information on your credit report, you can raise a Notice of Dispute with the Credit Reference Agency and they will take this up with the lender. This has to be resolved within 28 days.
9. Defaults If you have a default on your credit report, it will stay on your report for six years. Consider using the Notice of Correction facility to explain the circumstances behind the non payment
10. County Court Judgments If you’ve had a CCJ and it is now settled make sure the settlement is recorded on your credit report. If not, contact the court to get confirmation details and inform the credit reference agencies. Consider using the Notice of Correction facility to explain the circumstances behind the judgement
Equifax recommends that anyone planning to make a new credit application obtains a copy of their credit report so that they can see exactly how their address is shown. This is how it will be checked by lenders. And if they believe the address is not properly presented, they can ask the credit reference agency to take this up with the lenders and the local authorities.
The Equifax Credit Report, with the facility to access credit information for the first 30 days free, is accessible simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk. Designed to help individuals understand their credit file and see what lenders see to assess new credit applications, the Equifax Credit Report also includes expert tips and advice to help consumers take the right steps to manage their finances and navigate through life's challenges.
If the customer does not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £8.99 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.
The Equifax app is available free from the Apple iTunes Store on iPhone and iPad and from Google Play for Androids. Once signed on as an Equifax member, users can download all the Equifax credit and ID fraud subscription based services, giving them access to the information they need whenever and wherever they are.
*Research conducted on behalf of Equifax by OnePoll, 23-24 May 2012 amongst 3,000 consumers
For further press information please contact: Louise Fowler, Clare Watson, Cecile Stearn or Wendy Harrison at HSL on 020 8977 9132 / Fax: 020 8977 5200 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 17 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.
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