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The most common credit report problems (and how to fix them)

Found incorrect or missing information on your credit report? Here’s what might have happened and what you can do to set things right.

15 May 2018Hannah Salih 5 min read
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Image by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Fix problems on your credit report

Check your credit report now.

See your report

Your credit report should be an accurate record of your financial history. But occasionally you might find that not everything looks exactly how you were expecting it to.

And you’re not alone - about 38% of people find mistakes on their report when they first check. This could include: missing information, things you don’t recognise or old or outdated information (which is why we recommend checking it regularly).

But you’ll be happy to hear that, most of the time, there’s either a reasonable explanation or the issue can be fixed. Here’s a look at some of the most common credit report problems people come across and what you can do to fix them.

This is probably the most common credit report issue we see. Occasionally, this can be a mistake, but we often find that there’s an explanation behind why certain info you were expecting to see won’t show up:

1. Only financial accounts with credit facilities appear on your report

Savings accounts without an overdraft don’t appear on your report. But it’s worth noting that current accounts will show up on your report, regardless of whether you have an overdraft. When it comes to bills, while some energy and telecom suppliers report to the credit reference agencies, not all of them do.

2. The lender simply doesn’t report to Equifax

By and large, most mainstream lenders report to all three credit reference agencies. However, some only report to one or two of them. ClearScore shows you your report from Equifax. So if your lender doesn’t report to them, the account won’t appear on your ClearScore report.

3. There are issues with your address

The UK doesn’t have a national ID card system, so credit reference agencies rely on your address to confirm your identity and match your credit information to you. This means that the information on your credit report can sometimes be incomplete if your address is outdated or incorrect. Find out more about how your address affects your credit score to really get to grips with this topic.

4. It hasn’t been long enough

Information won’t appear on your report immediately. In fact, it can take up to 4-6 weeks for your details to appear on your credit report. Lenders tend to report to the credit reference agencies once a month so if you’ve only just opened an account it can take time to show up.

Similarly, most local authorities update the electoral roll and report to the credit reference agencies once a month. However, the reporting dates and frequency can vary. It can take between four to eight weeks from the date you register to vote for the information to appear on your credit report.

What can I do about it?

Step one is to talk to your lender. Try to find out which credit reference agencies they report to so you can find out whether this info should actually be on your report.

If they do report to Equifax then it’s usually a good idea to raise a dispute to get your report corrected.

You should also check for issues with your address, as this may affect your credit report’s accuracy. Make sure you’ve registered all your active credit accounts under your current address. This should also be the address on your ClearScore account. Always write your address in the same format. For example, don’t write 35 / 4 on some applications and 35 Flat 4 on others. And if you’re moving home, don’t forget to let your lenders know, so they have the most up-to-date information on you.

Maybe you've logged in and seen that there's a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ search, a new credit account (such as a credit card) or a financial association with someone you don’t know. We know that this can be worrying so here’s what you need to know:

Soft searches you don’t recognise

Lenders run a soft search whenever you check your eligibility for a product. ClearScore also carries out soft searches when we pull your monthly report or check your eligibility for an offer. You can see a list of soft searches related to ClearScore here.

Your report can have quite a long list of soft searches, but don’t be alarmed. Lenders can't see them, and they don’t harm your credit score. They also drop off your report after a year.

Hard searches, products or financial associations you don’t recognise

Hard searches, products or financial associations you don’t recognise can be added to your report by mistake. However, they could also be signs that you’re a victim of fraud, as someone might be applying for credit in your name. Lenders can see these items on your report, which means they can affect your credit score. So it’s important to check them out. Learn more about soft searches and hard searches

What can I do about it?

  • Call up your lender to confirm whether they’re genuine. Perhaps you’ve forgotten you made an application. Or maybe you know the person or product by another name.

  • If you suspect fraud, file a report with the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. You should also raise a dispute with Equifax to get the item you don’t recognise off your report

  • Consider filing a protective registration with CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service. While this costs money, it alerts lenders that you’ve been a victim of fraud, so they’ll treat any further applications in your name with greater caution.

You may have to wait between 4-6 weeks for new or updated information to be added to your ClearScore account. This is because the lender has to report to the credit reference agencies first, and then they have to update their records.

Each lender has its own reporting procedure. For example, some lenders report at the start of the month, while others report closer to the end. ClearScore pulls your report from Equifax around the monthly anniversary of your sign-up date. So, if you signed up on the 8th but your lender reports on the 20th, you’ll have to wait for your next report for new accounts to appear and information on closed accounts to be updated.

Similarly, any balance on your report is the balance on the date your lender reports. If your lender reports on the 15th but issues your statement on the 28th, your credit report will always show your balance halfway through the month, and the figures won’t align with your statement.

What can I do about it?

If you’ve opened a new account (or closed an old one) less than six weeks ago and you can’t see it on your report, it should appear on the next one.

If the information on your report is more than six weeks out of date, it’s a good idea to raise a dispute with Equifax so they can look into the matter. You can do this through our troubleshooting page. You also have a right to ask Equifax for a copy of your latest credit report, but you’ll have to pay £2.

When it comes to your outstanding balances, the most important thing is that your payment has been registered. If you think you’ve paid your balance but your report says otherwise, check with your lender that the payment has gone through.

Have any other questions or concerns? Our customer delight team is always more than happy to help. Get in touch with us here.

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Written by Hannah Salih

Content Creator

Hannah is currently studying for a Master's in Comparative Cultural Analysis. She knows all about personal finance, but as a student, she's an expert in money saving tips and tricks.