I was wondering if there is anything else that I can do to get my credit rating back up?
I look at my credit report quite regularly actually because I've had bad credit in the past. I've had my house repossessed probably just over a year ago and I also had a CCJ. Now I've worked at getting my credit rating back up as much as I can and I'm now pleased to say that my score is in the fair category. I was just wondering if there is anything else that I can do considering I've got these on my record and they will remain on there for 6 years. Everything's up to date, all my payments have been made for the last twelve months so I'm just wondering if there is anything else that I can actually do?
Neil Munroe from credit reference agency Equifax responds:
"Well obviously as a credit reference agency we do hold information about people's borrowings and we have a lot of information where people have paid very much on time which is used to their benefit to get credit but obviously when people do fall behind that information is recorded as well. As you say, I think you've done a lot of the good things that we would advise which is to get yourself back on track as best you can. Information will stay on there for six years, but the point to be made is that lenders will look at more recent history than the older history, so keep up the good work, keep the payments being made on time, the other thing you can do of course is have your say. You can put a statement on the file to actually explain what circumstances you've been through and maybe you're now back in work and things have improved and lenders are obliged to read that as well."
Owen Roberts from credit reference agency Callcredit explains how a statement can be put on your credit file:
"In dealing with all of the credit reference agencies we have a number of standard processes, so if you see anything on your file you disagree with you can lodge a dispute with us and we'll raise that with the person that contributed the data. If that data is factually inaccurate, you can work with us to put a notice of correction on and that just allows you within certain parameters to write an explanation of the circumstances that surrounded that.
If the data's inaccurate it gets changed so you would raise that with us, we would raise it with the person that contributed the data and ultimately they would either correct the data because it was a mistake on their side or they may engage the customer in some dialogue to understand why they believe that was the correct status to put on and the customer doesn't."
Beccy Boden-Wilks a debt adviser with the free debt advice agency National Debtline responds:
"All you can really do now is carry on making payments of what you can afford, putting notes of correction on saying yes, I did default last year, whether that was because of losing a job or whatever, it's something that lots of lenders are going to be quite familiar with I can imagine now during the current recession. It's a common thing unfortunately and lenders will normally look at more recent history than payment behaviour from a few years ago so hopefully you carry on the way you are you'll be able to get good credit again."
The above query and responses where featured on the BBC radio 4 Moneybox programme on Wednesday 29th April 2009.