What’s in a name? Unless you choose carefully, a financial headache
Posted in 'Credit Reports' by Richard Catlin
28 June 2012
Choosing a name for a baby is tougher than it sounds. You don’t want to go too ‘boring’ but at the same time, you’ve got to consider whether little “Princess Tinkerbelle” will appreciate your creative side once they start school.
Worse still, pick poorly and your credit rating could take a real hammering in 18 years or so.
Selecting a name that both parents like is no easy matter. The choices seem endless, and finding one you both like can take a lot of research. This nifty website – which uses data from the Office of National Statistics - reports that there were over 13,000 unique names for babies born in England and Wales in 2010, with Olivia and Oliver taking top spots.
Celebrities, sports stars and royalty are just some of the things that influence trends, though it remains to be seen whether Pippa (currently ranked at 365th, up from 671st) or Harper Seven ( Harper is currently ranked around 900th, depending on gender, up from nowhere) make it into the 2011 top ten.
One factor that parents are unlikely to given much consideration to when choosing a baby name is the impact it might have on your credit file in years to come.
Basically, when it comes to safeguarding your credit rating, electing to give your children the same name as you really is a bad idea.
Never mind the confusion it’ll cause in a few years’ time when someone says a name (and gets two replies), or when you have to work out who the post belongs to each day – getting your finances muddled up is a much more serious problem.
Although it’s a far more popular practice in the US than the UK, passing a first name on to your children is still a tradition that many families continue today.
Problems arise because of the way that the data on your credit file is collated, meaning that it’s possible for two members of the same family who share the same name to see their information merged. Even where the dates of birth are significantly different – for example in the case of a father and son – a practice known as “fuzzy matching” could cause the information to be mixed together. Fuzzy matching is where the computer doesn’t have the full name, (for example, just an initial), and doesn’t have another clear differentiator, such as a date of birth. County Court Judgments are examples of where only an initial is known, and no date of birth quoted on the court record.
Twins potentially face the same problems if given similar first names, or names with the same first initial. Because they’ll share the same date of birth, it’s highly likely that the same information would appear on both credit files, including any credit accounts, electoral roll listings, court information and late payments.
It’s possible to sort out the mess, and ‘disassociate’ from the information that shouldn’t be appearing, but without expert help it can prove to be a long-winded and tedious process.
So if you’re currently half way through the Bumper Book of Baby Names, take a second to rule out one option – your own names.
Richard Catlin is Marketing Manager at checkmyfile.com. He has a degree in Geography from the University of Glamorgan and can be contacted at email@example.com
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