Getting to grips with your credit report ñ why itís important to get a check-up
Your credit report is filed and updated each month by the lenders or companies with whom you have credit services. Any organisation that shares credit account information through a credit reference agency is responsible for making sure the information shared is accurate and kept up-date; so too should the credit reference agency take reasonable steps to make sure the information is correct.
Experian carries out over 300 checks before account data is added to peopleís reports.
However, it is essential that you also regularly monitor your own credit report to ensure that it provides an accurate and up-date picture of your credit history. Regular checks will allow you to spot any potential inaccuracies and act swiftly to take steps to resolution if your report contains what you believe to be inaccurate information.
James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian, UK & Ireland advises: ìItís vital that people review their credit reports on a regular basis and alert us immediately if they find any mistakes. We can then get to work setting the record straight before the information becomes a problem, such as a credit application being unfairly refused by a lender.î
If you report a mistake, Experian will raise a ëdata disputeí with the lender in question on your behalf, marking the information as ëunreliableí in the meantime. This means that any lender looking at your report while the dispute is ongoing should not use the disputed information in a lending decision.
Experian CreditExpertís five steps to disputing information on a credit report:
1. Get a current copy of your Experian Credit Report
If you don't have one you can sign up to CreditExpert or order a one-off £2 statutory report ñ go to www.experian.co.uk for details.
2. Let Experian know which entry isnít accurate
Alert Experian as to which entry is inaccurate, and whatís wrong with it. You can either do this by email, post or using Experianís online query forms. All Experianís contact details can be found here.
3. Experian will contact the organisation thatís recorded this information on your report
Experian will ask them to check the accuracy of the data theyíve recorded. Theyíll let you know that theyíre doing this, and theyíll add a ënotice of disputeí to the entry ñ so that anyone looking at your report in the meantime will know that the entry is being disputed. Experian does this because they canít delete or change the data without the lenderís permission.
4. Experian will let you know the outcome
Once the organisation replies, Experian will be in touch to let you know whether theyíve said it can be updated, deleted or confirmed that itís correct. It takes eight working days on average for Experian to receive a response and theyíll let you know as soon as they hear from them.
5. Further help
If the organisation/lender responds informing Experian that they believe the information is accurate and you still disagree, Experian will explain the next steps you can take, including adding a ënotice of correctioní (an explanatory statement) to the entry or referring the matter to a third party to arbitrate, for example, the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Information Commissioner's Office.
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