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How to improve your credit rating

How to improve your credit rating

Credit improvement

To improve your credit rating (or rectify identity theft) you first need to get copies of your Statutory Credit Reports from all 3 Credit Reference Agencies Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit) by making requests for your credit file. Very little can be done until you have copies of your Statutory Credit Reports. Once you have received your Statutory Credit Reports you will need to review them. The credit reference agency will not change any information they hold about you if it is correct. However, if any information is incorrect, there are procedures under which you can correct it.

Notice of disassociation

A great deal of incorrect information arises not from identity theft, but from general confusion which can arise from living near (or with) someone who has a bad credit rating. To deal with this, you need to serve a Notice of Disassociation on the credit reference agency. Once you have disassociated yourself from someone, only your information will be used by the lender to assess your application for credit. The credit reference agency has 28 days to complete this process following receipt of a Notice of Disassociation from you.

Notice of dispute

If there is incorrect information on your credit report you can write to the lender or the credit reference agency. If you write to the credit reference agency, it will normally need to contact the lender and ask it to investigate your complaint. You may therefore find it quicker to write directly to the lender yourself. This will also save you having to write to each of the agencies that hold the information you think is wrong.

Writing to the lender

  • Give your full name and address. It may also help to give any relevant account numbers or reference numbers to help them find your information.
  • Explain what information you think is wrong and why.
  • Provide any proof you have to show the lender why the information is wrong.
  • Keep a copy of any letters you send.
  • Give the lender a reasonable time to reply, e.g. at least 28 days. This will enable it to investigate the problem.
  • If you do not get a response, you should send the lender a follow-up letter.

Writing to the credit reference agency

  • Give your full name and address. It may also help to give your credit reference file number.
  • Clearly explain what information you think is wrong and why.
  • Provide any proof you have to show why the information is wrong.
  • Keep a copy of any letters you send.
  • By law the agency must tell you within 28 days of your letter if it has removed the entry from your file, amended the entry or taken no action.

If the entry is amended, the agency will send you a copy of the amended entry. The agency will also send the details to any lender that has searched your credit reference file in the last 6 months.

Notice of correction

You can ask the credit reference agency to add a notice of correction to your credit reference file if:

There is factually incorrect information on your credit report, but the agency has taken no action in response to your objection.

There is correct information on your credit report, but there are circumstances that you would like any potential lender to take into account.

What is a notice of correction?

This is a statement of up to 200 words, which you can write. It will be seen by anyone who looks at the entry on your credit reference file and should be taken into consideration if you apply for credit.

The notice should clearly and accurately explain why you think an entry on your credit reference file is wrong or misleading or requires further explanation. If the agency thinks your notice of correction is incorrect, defamatory (affecting someone's reputation), frivolous or scandalous, or is for any other reason unsuitable for publication, it may pass the notice to the Information Commissioner. The Commissioner will then make an order to say what notice, if any, should be added to your credit reference file.

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