Boost your credit rating

Don't despair if you've been refused credit. As long as you are over 18, and not trying to commit fraud, there are a few things you can do to remedy the problem.

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Banks give the thumbs up to people who make them money.

If possible, find out why you were turned down by the lenders. If it’s one simple thing, then it should be a fairly straightforward task to sort it out. But remember, if the lenders can’t or won’t tell you why your application was rejected, you can’t force them to give you this information.

Here are some of the most common reasons, and how to turn them to your favour:

Your name isn’t on the electoral roll

This can happen if you have moved house recently, or if you have been living overseas for a while. Contact your local council and register, but remember it can take several weeks for the forms to be processed. If you have household bills with your name on them, show these to the lender, who may accept them as proof of address.

You have county court judgements against you

If you have been ordered to pay a CCJ by the county court, the only way out of this problem is to pay the fines off as soon as possible. If you do not do so within one month this will be held on your record, which may cause difficulties in obtaining credit.

If you can’t pay the debt off within one month, apply to the court for a Certificate of Satisfaction for £10. The CCJ will remain on your file for six years but potential lenders will be able to see that you have paid the debt.

If you are unable to pay the amount specified then you should ask the courts to “vary” the order by completing a form N245, obtainable from the court. They will ask you to give information about your regular income and expenditure. You may have it pay a £50 fee for submitting this application.

To find out if a CCJ has been registered against you, search the online register run by the Registry Trust. Fees start at £8 for a search of the register.

You are bankrupt

If you are trying to get more than £250 worth of credit, you must declare to the lender that you are bankrupt. You may have to wait up to a year before you can get credit. For more information see The Mix’s bankruptcy information.

You’ve missed payments

Information on your student loan is included in your credit files. This means that if you’ve missed a payment to the student loans company it will show up as a black mark on your credit rating. This will make it harder to get credit from banks and other lenders.

Account information from a credit reference agency

This includes records of your current credit, recent applications for credit, repayment history, home repossession, and so on. It only contains factual information, without being judgemental. There is no red rubber stamp on your file saying that you are the kind of person who should never be lent any money.

  • If you have recently applied for several credit deals at once, a lender may think you are a risk because you’re overstretching yourself financially. You may have more luck if you cancel the least essential applications and concentrate on one or two that are the most important.
  • If you haven’t kept up the payments on something, go back and pay off what you owe. Once you have put things right, remember it takes at least a month for this new information to reach the credit reference agency.
  • If you have never taken out a credit agreement before, and want a large amount of credit, you will have no credit history. A lender can’t guess whether you will repay on time or not. One way round the problem is to take out a different credit agreement for something much less expensive, and keep up with these small repayments.
  • When you have made these changes, wait for a month, and reapply to the lender who refused you credit before.
  • There is nothing to stop you trying a different lender. They all have different rules, and may accept your application straight away.

Wrong information from a credit reference agency

The Consumer Credit Act (1974), gives you the right to see the information that the agency holds about you, if you pay a £2 fee. You can look through the information and have any mistakes corrected.

There are three major credit reference agencies. They allow you to search your record online or apply by post. They are:

For full details of which banks use which credit agency, look on the MoneySavingExpert website.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015