Recent research revealed that more than 2000 county court judgements (CCJs) are made every day, often without the knowledge of the individuals and families receiving them.
A CCJ is made when someone takes court action against an individual, saying they owe them money, and the individual doesn’t respond. These orders play a key part in debt recovery for businesses. However, they can adversely affect the credit rating of individuals if they never receive it, perhaps due to a recent house move and the letter being sent to an old address, and are therefore unable to either dispute it or pay it.
As CCJs stay on an individual’s credit file for six years, the fact that it exists at all may only come to light later down the line when a mortgage or similar is applied for and refused.
A credit file is a financial record of every borrower in the UK, showing their repayment behaviour over a six-year period and, with CCJs hitting the headlines, it seems timely to take a look at some of the key reasons why you should review it regularly.
Get an overview of your outstanding credit
Seeing all your current financial commitments that require credit, such as mortgages, credit cards, loans and mobile phone contracts, in once place can help with the management of your personal finances.
Apply for the type of credit that is right for you
Lenders calculate their credit scores on different criteria, so while one may reject you, another may accept your application for credit.
Identify ways to improve your credit score
There are several steps you can take to improve your score including closing any credit cards you no longer use, ensuring you are on the electoral roll and making any necessary repayments on time. Also noted on your credit file will be details of any defaults on loans or CCJs.
Protect yourself against identity fraud
A look through your file will enable you to detect any names you don’t recognise or accounts that aren’t yours. If you find any, it could mean you are a victim of identity theft.
Spot any mistakes and ensure they are corrected
This includes making sure your address details are current and removing any financial connections to people who are no longer relevant, such as previous partners who you may have held a joint account with. Errors should be reported to the credit reference agencies as well as the company responsible.
You can check your credit file as often as you like without it impacting on your credit rating and it’s well worth the time to ensure it is accurate and as good as it can be so you are in the best position when seeking credit at a future date.
Companies such as https://www.clearscore.com/, http://www.experian.co.uk/ and www.creditreport.co.uk offer free and monthly paid for packages that allow you to keep track of your credit report and score.