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Last updated:
20/11/2017

What are my options for dealing with debt?

Will I be 'blacklisted'?

  1. Overview
  2. Priority and non-priority debts
  3. Bank accounts and debt
  4. Drawing up a budget sheet
  5. Negotiating reduced payments to your debts
  6. Free Debt Management Plans
  7. Administration Order
  8. Debt Relief Order
  9. Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  10. Bankruptcy
  11. Will I be 'blacklisted'?
  12. Write Offs
  13. What can creditors do if I don't pay?
  14. Should I tell creditors about my mental health?
  15. Getting help from a specialist adviser
  16. Next steps

There is no blacklist. There are three credit reference agencies in the UK who store information about your credit history. This information is called your credit reference file or credit report. You can find contact details for each of these agencies in the next steps section.

If you are applying for credit (such as a mortgage, bank account with an overdraft facility, credit card or loan) the creditor will check your credit report. They will use that information to decide if they will lend to you. The credit reference agencies provide information to help lenders make a decision. They do not say who can and cannot have credit.

Other organisations that might want to check your credit report may include:

  • landlords, and
  • potential employers (mainly only those within the financial sector & they must have your written consent).

Most information stays on your credit report for six years, but this is not always the case. The table below lists all the types of information that you may find, and how long that information will appear on your credit report.

Information on a credit report

How long it stays on file

Electoral roll information (address at which you are registered to vote).

Indefinitely

Financial links – information about the credit history of anyone you have a joint account or other financial link with.

When a financial link ends you can advise the credit reference agency of the ‘disassociation’ and they can change the records

Formal insolvency (bankruptcy, IVA, DRO) / Court judgments.

6 years from the date the order, arrangement or judgment is made

Live accounts – mortgages, credit cards, loans, and current accounts.

While account is open and 6 years from when it is closed

Defaults.

6 years from the default

Credit report searches – when a credit search is done by a creditor (e.g. when you apply for credit).

1 or 2 years depending on the credit reference agency

For a £2 fee, you can ask for a copy of your credit report by contacting the credit reference agencies. You should check your reports regularly to make sure the information about you is correct.

For a £2 fee, you can ask for a copy of your credit report by contacting the credit reference agencies. You should check your reports regularly to make sure the information about you is correct.

Check the reports from all three credit reference agencies. Not all creditors use all the agencies so you may find some information on one report which is not on another.

If you find information on your file that is not correct, you should contact the credit reference agency to find out how to correct it.

You can put information on your own credit reference files. This will be read by the creditor if they check your credit report. This is known as a notice of correction, it is free to do and can be up to 200 words.

A notice of correction can be useful if you are struggling to get credit because something happened that you think creditors should take into account when making a lending decision (for example, you got a sheriff court judgment when you were unwell). Here are some examples:

Example Notice of Correction

I have bipolar disorder that I am receiving treatment for and have been for many years. Most of the time I am very sensible with money, budget well and pay any debts I have on time, but when I have manic periods I have been known spend recklessly and apply for more credit than I can manage

You can use a notice of correction to let lenders know if you have periods where you apply for lots of credit. This could be because of a condition and can be a way to warn lenders. It is not a guaranteed way to stop creditors lending. But if you have run up debts when unwell in the past, it may help make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Example Notice of Correction

I am aware that my credit reference file shows that I defaulted on my loan repayments to the bank in October 2011 and that I then received a county court judgment in June 2012. This was because I fell seriously ill around the time of the default and I had an extended stay in hospital. Once I recovered I returned to work and have been repaying this debt as quickly as possible. I have now been repaying the debt for over 4 years and it is almost paid in full. Please take these exceptional circumstances around the default and the court judgment into account when making a lending decision.

 

For more information about this subject read the Information Commissioners leaflet called Credit Explained.

Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. Priority and non-priority debts
  3. Bank accounts and debt
  4. Drawing up a budget sheet
  5. Negotiating reduced payments to your debts
  6. Free Debt Management Plans
  7. Administration Order
  8. Debt Relief Order
  9. Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  10. Bankruptcy
  11. Will I be 'blacklisted'?
  12. Write Offs
  13. What can creditors do if I don't pay?
  14. Should I tell creditors about my mental health?
  15. Getting help from a specialist adviser
  16. Next steps

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