Recent IT failures at many of the UK’s high street banks have left customers out of pocket, short on options and short on patience.
As banks try to upgrade their creaking IT infrastructure, several have had issues that have prevented customers from accessing their cash or making payments. Some people even missed payments despite having cash in their accounts.
It’s not just a pain when it happens; it could cause longer-term inconvenience and costs. Two thirds of customers who checked their credit file after a bank IT failure found errors that could affect their creditworthiness. That might mean they don’t qualify for credit when they need it, or that they won’t qualify for the best deals, for reasons that are not their own fault.
If you’re one of the thousands affected, the good news is that it can be sorted – the key is being aware and acting fast.
Of course, to spot any errors you need to keep an eye on your credit score and report. That’s not just a good idea because of bank failures, it can help you spot fraud and acts as a financial health check.
If you do spot an error that was caused by something beyond your control, here’s what you can do to put it right:
Talk to the company
If you spot a mistake, the first thing to do is let the company or lender know. They may well be happy to amend it immediately or you may need to go through their official complaints procedure.
Either way, they should send updates to all the credit reference agencies they use, so you won’t have to submit a request to each individual agency.
Talk to us at ClearScore
Your credit score belongs to you and you have a right to make sure it’s accurate. That means that you can raise a dispute if you think there’s an error and we will do our best to put it right.
Useto raise a dispute with us. We’ll look into it and talk to the company the issue relates to.
All credit scoring agencies should have a similar process for putting mistakes right so a few minutes of proactive emailing could fix the issue fast.
What if the company doesn’t agree?
If you believe there’s an error on your report but you can’t get it fixed, then you can add a Notice of Correction to your file.
A Notice of Correction is essentially up to 200 words explaining what happened and why it doesn’t reflect your normal financial behaviour. That’s not necessarily just for bank errors, it can also be used to explain any negative marks on your score.
So, if you had a period of ill-health, for example, which means you fell behind on your bills, you can leave a note to explain.
What are the most common errors?
Your credit report should be an accurate record of your financial history, but sometimes mistakes happen.
At Clearscore, these are some of the most common credit report mistakes we see:
Missing relevant information. Not every financial product you use will show up on a credit score, of course; only those with credit facilities and your current account, even if it doesn’t have an overdraft. If this is the case for you, it could be that the company you’re using doesn’t report to the credit reference agency we use (Equifax). It’s worth raising that with them.
An incorrect address. This can affect your credit score. To fix it, make sure you’re registered to vote and check that all your accounts are registered to your current address. Be careful to always write your address the same way. For example, don’t use ‘13a’ for one product and ‘13 Flat 2’ on another.
Something you don’t recognise. If you spot a hard search for credit that you don’t recognise, or a loan or credit card you didn’t apply for, then you need to act fast. It could be a sign you’ve fallen victim to identity theft and although you won’t be liable for that borrowing, it will affect your credit score and you need to get it sorted.
When it's not a mistake at all
If your credit score isn’t as strong as it could be and it’s not an error, don’t worry – you can still take steps to improve it.
From simple things like ensuring you’re on the electoral roll to credit-builder credit cards, there are always ways to rebuild your score. Try our.
So whether it’s an error caused by your bank or something in your own financial history, there are always ways to rectify the situation. There’s no reason to let a poor credit score drive up the cost of your credit.