Equifax sorts fact from fiction
Helping consumers understand what’s on their credit report and how to improve their credit score
Equifax, the online credit information provider, is helping consumers separate fact from fiction, when it comes to what’s on their credit report and what impacts their ability to gain credit. Popular myths include that the credit behaviour of anyone living at the same address could affect your credit rating and old debts don’t count. Equifax offers tips for consumers who want to improve their credit score and clarifies what’s on their credit report.
“Many people are confused, when it comes to the things that could improve or damage their credit score,” explains Lisa Hardstaff, Credit Information Expert at Equifax. “One of the best things consumers can do is get a copy of their Credit Report to gain a clear picture of what information is held on their current credit file. If they are considering taking out new credit we can help them understand how their credit information may be used by a lender. That way, they can take steps to increase their chances of success when applying for credit.”
Previous occupants at your address don’t appear on your credit file or affect your score. Plus, living with friends and family won’t impact your credit score, unless you have a financial connection with them, such as a joint account.
The credit blacklist
The myth of the ‘credit blacklist’ is one that won’t go away. But there’s no such thing - lenders base their decision on a range of information, combining data from the credit reference agencies with information provided on the applicant’s application form.
Old debts don’t matter
Old credit agreements do count and will stay on your file for 6 years. For those with negative indicators, such as missed payments, already on their credit file; they may wish to explain any extenuating circumstances by way of a ‘notice of correction’. A ‘notice of correction’ is a brief explanation provided by the individual to explain the circumstances surrounding an item on their credit file and will remain indefinitely so that lenders can see it when considering an application.”
Too many accounts or too few
There’s no definitive number of accounts that will make for a better credit score. Lenders want to see well managed accounts without any missed payments. Too many financial commitments could put you at risk of taking on too much debt, making you a bad risk for lenders. In contrast, someone who has never borrowed could also find it more difficult to get new credit. Lenders want to see some credit history to be able to predict how new credit will be repaid.
“To help ensure they have a good credit score, consumers should make sure they’re on the electoral roll, as this is one of the key ways lenders confirm an applicant’s identity”, added Lisa Hardstaff. “Consumers should also close old accounts they don’t use and avoid opening too many accounts in a short period of time, as lenders could see this as a sign of someone who is potentially taking on too much debt.”
“Apply for a copy of your Credit Report before applying for credit so that you can check all the information is correct and up to date. Armed with our key facts and tips, consumers can help boost their chances of getting the best deals and staying in control of their finances.”
What is ON your credit report?
- Electoral Roll Information – used to verify a person’s name and address and to establish the length of time you have lived at an address
- Credit Account Information – your accounts are classed as ‘settled’, ‘active’, ‘defaulted’, or ‘delinquent’
- County Court Judgments or Decrees – held on your credit report for six years from the date of the judgment
- Searches – where a lender has performed a credit check on you will be kept on your credit report for 1 year
- Shared Financial Commitments also known as Associates – anyone you specifically share a financial responsibility with, such as a joint bank account
- Current Account Information – only credit aspects of your current account will be shown on a credit report such as the overdraft limit and balance as well as the manner in which this is maintained. A positive balance will not be displayed for these accounts.
- CIFAS Protective Register (UK’s Fraud Prevention Service) – will only appear on your credit file if you have registered with the Protective Register. It aims to detect and prevent fraud.
- Student Loans – only pre-98 defaulted loans will appear on your credit report
What is NOT on your credit report?
- Third Party Information – members of your family who live, or have lived with you do not appear as long as you don’t share any joint financial commitments
- Savings Accounts, Fines, Child Support Agency, Medical History, Criminal Records
The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 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.
For further press information, please contact: Clare Watson, Cecile Stearn, Parm Heer 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 that provide businesses of all sizes and consumers with insight and information they can trust. Equifax organizes and assimilates data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide. The company’s significant investments in differentiated data, its expertise in advanced analytics to explore and develop new multi-source data solutions, and its leading-edge proprietary technology enable it to create and deliver unparalleled customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 19 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. In 2013, Equifax was named a Bloomberg BusinessWeek Top 50 company, was #3 in Fortune's Most Admired list in its category, and was named to InfoWeek 500 as well as the FinTech 100. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.
Equifax Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.