It’s a good idea to periodically check your credit score. Though it may be “out of sight, out of mind”, getting into the habit of checking it regularly can be really helpful. After all, you might suddenly need a loan or some other form of credit. It’s only then that you realise your credit score isn’t as high as you thought. Improving it is always an option of course, but it can take time. So you should deal with problems ahead of time. Future you will be so happy with present you when the time comes to get a loan!
Errors are nasty surprises people often discover when their credit score is lower than they were expecting. These are particularly frustrating if they delay your finance plans because they’re not your fault and they didn’t even need to be there in the first place! It can be a pain, but with one in five people finding mistakes in their credit reports, they are unfortunately a very real possibility. And the best person to keep an eye on them is you.
So how can you find errors on your credit report, and what can you do to correct them? Loqbox has your back. Let’s look at how to correct errors on your credit reports with all three of the main credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the UK. These are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You’ll want to make sure your information is sorted on all three as one could be holding an error the others aren’t.
How can I correct errors on my credit report?
Your credit score is a number that helps you to have an idea of how a lender would decide to lend to you or not. They call this creditworthiness.
When you apply for a credit card, loan or mortgage the lender will check in with the three main Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs for short) to see your credit report and look at how you have managed your finances in the past.
The higher your credit score the better your chances of being able to borrow money at a favourable rate. Read more in our blog: Should I worry about my credit score?
So, it’s a good idea to have a “good” or “excellent” credit score. But errors on your report can dent your score without you even knowing about it. So here’s what can you do to fix mistakes in your report:
Check your credit report
The first thing we suggest is that you actually check in on your credit report with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to see how it’s looking. This should also show you your credit scores with each at the same time, here’s a table of what their ratings are to help you. You can take a look at your credit report without a fee and without negatively impacting it by using one of these trusted services:
*Signing up for ClearScore using this link makes us a small commission. We just wanted to let you know!
Once you are able to see your credit report you can get a fairly good idea if there might be any mistakes. If the score is a lot lower than it should be, that could be a sign that something isn’t quite right!
Check your credit report to see if everything is as it should be. Here are some examples of common mistakes found on credit reports to help you identify any on yours.
Common mistakes on credit reports
This is a short guide to some of the more commonly found errors on credit reports. Use this to check your own report and quickly spot any issues:
- Incorrect personal information and errors on your identity. This should be easy to spot! Check that your name is spelled correctly, and that there aren’t any issues with your address or your date of birth. You might also find that somebody who has a similar name to yours is accidentally turning up on your credit report.
- Incorrect account information from identity theft. It’s unfortunate, but identity theft is an ever present in our lives. With increasing sophistication, criminals are able to use your information to set up accounts or use your money. You could have something hurting your credit score that you didn’t even know about.
- Previous housemates or ex-partners still linked to you. Having joint accounts with people can harm your credit score if the other person is not good at handling their finances. If you notice the name from someone in your past popping up on your credit report, ask to have them removed.
- Closed accounts showing as open accounts. If there has been a change in the status of an account but it has not been properly updated it could be creating a problem on your report. If there has been at least 45 days between the account closing and the report not being updated, let the CRA know.
- Duplicate accounts. You could be showing on two different accounts causing problems for your score. This might be under slightly different names for example.
- Inaccurate payment history. There could be incorrect information showing that payments have been reported late or missing, or that balance and credit limit information is outdated. Additionally, having the wrong account dates on your account could be an issue.
How to correct a mistake on your credit report
If you find an error on your credit report, it’s possible that it is reducing your credit score. The good news is that you can do something about it. With so many records on their databases, it is highly unlikely that the CRAs will spot and fix things themselves. So it is up to you, but you have the power to change anything that is wrong!
The first thing you should do is contact the CRA (or Credit Reference Agency) that is showing the mistake and the company that provided them with the information. We’ll take you through how to do this with both!
How do I contact the Credit Reference Agencies to correct errors?
As soon as you find an error on your credit report you should dispute it with the relevant CRA. As mentioned before the so-called Big Three in the UK are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You’ll want to make sure that your information is correct on all of them as they can hold slightly different details.
To make a dispute, contact the CRA in writing to outline what you think is wrong, how it might have happened and include any information or documentation that you think will be relevant to support your theory. Here’s a checklist for everything you want to include when contacting them:
- Your contact information
- Report reference number (where applicable)
- Clear and detailed information for each mistake
- An explanation for why you are making the dispute
- A request that the error be removed, changed or updated
How to correct credit report errors with Experian
If you’re using MSE’s Credit Club this will give you a link to contact Experian, or follow this link for a direct shortcut:
Experian’s contact page
How to contact Equifax to correct an inaccuracy
If you’re using the ClearScore app, it will give you a link to contact Equifax. Or follow this link for a shortcut:
Equifax’s online help page
How to correct mistakes with TransUnion
If you’re using the Intuit Credit Karma app, it will give you a link to contact TransUnion to start a dispute, or you can follow this link for a shortcut:
TransUnion’s online disputes page
How do I contact the provider of an error?
The inaccurate information that is showing on your credit report may have been provided by a company that you deal with, like your bank, credit card company, mortgage or utility provider.
You should try and contact that provider of the information if the CRA requests for you to do that. The company will have around 28 days to investigate the dispute.
What happens to my dispute?
The CRAs have to look at your dispute and pass it on to the provider of the information. They are able to dismiss it if they do not agree that it fits the criteria of a dispute. The provider of the disputed information is also able to choose not to investigate, but they must send you notice of their dismissal within five days.
If the provider of the disputed information does update the inaccurate information however, they must also contact all of the CRAs who received the error. Give the Credit Reference Agency about 45 days for the dispute to be processed and for it to start showing on your credit report.
While you’re waiting for all this to be sorted out, you could raise a notice of correction to let potential lenders that are looking at your credit report know that you’re disputing an error on your credit file.
If the dispute is deemed to not be true, the provider will request that a statement be made on your credit report which outlines the history of the dispute for future reference.
What to do if your dispute is dismissed
If your dispute is dismissed, but you still feel it should be investigated further, you can take your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office — which oversees how companies handle your data.
It’s a long process, so if you’d like to grow your credit score in the meantime, why not get started with Loqbox? You could see your credit score boost by up to 300 points in three months! Read more about it here.