Moving house and your credit report

Posted by Kevin Pearce in Personal Finance on 31 August 2016 - Kevin is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

So you’ve finally moved into your new house, decorated every room while under the influence of cheap caffeine drinks and decided that the pile of boxes are just fine living in the garage. Even the giant TV is in place (with surround sound, of course), so surely it’s time to put your feet up and consider it a job well done?

No, unfortunately there’s some housekeeping of a different kind to be done: keeping your credit file in order.

While not at all exciting, it really is in your best interests to ensure that this is completed sooner rather than later. After all, we all know that the oven that came with the house for an extra £50 is going to go wrong after 4 months and that few hundred pounds to replace it needs to come from somewhere. This likely means credit, which means an accurate credit file could well make the difference between a swanky new fan oven and living off of microwave meals (or pot noodles, if you’re a connoisseur).

The main aspects to consider:

Update Electoral Roll details

Inform all lenders and service providers that you have moved

Keep an eye on your credit files to ensure that nothing is happening at your previous address

Ensure that utilities have actually been shut down

Remove any financial associates that are no longer relevant

Update Electoral Roll details

Many lenders will expect to see you on the Electoral Roll at your current address, as it is an easy way for them to verify where you reside and also help to link your credit account details on your credit file. If you have no interest in politics or have no intention to vote, don’t worry, there is no obligation to use your registration for its intended purposes, simply use it to aid your credit rating.

Your registration can be completed online on your local council’s website or you can contact them to request a postal application form. It is likely this will take around 3 months after submission to appear on your credit file.

It is vital to ensure that the format of your name and address is exactly the same as the format used by the Royal Mail and your lenders. This ensures that all data is returned under one credit search and will avoid unnecessarily being declined for credit.

Inform all lenders and service providers that you have moved

This may be time consuming depending on the number of credit accounts you have, but it is simple to do. Contact all active lenders and service providers that you use, inform them of the move and they should update your details on their systems. Some lenders may ask for verification for each address.

Not only does this ensure that your details are correct on your credit file and they match your Electoral Roll details, it also ensures that your bills go to you, not your old address where someone else may now be living, which leads me on to…

Keep an eye on your credit files to ensure that nothing is happening at your previous address

It is possible that the people that now occupy your old property may take advantage of receiving post in your name that reveals highly sensitive information. They could open various types of accounts with very little information other than your name, date of birth and address, which would match if you haven’t followed the above steps.

You may want to consider a temporary Royal Mail redirection service while you wait for all address details to be updated with your lenders and service providers.

Keep an eye on your credit files during this time to look out for any unusual credit searches at your old address.

Ensure that utilities have actually been shut down

Unfortunately not all energy suppliers seem capable of providing as final, final bill that definitely covers all outstanding monies owed. Many people fall victim to believing they are up to date and have closed the account only to find out via their credit file that there was £2 outstanding and their account is now in arrears because the bills were still being sent to their old address.

Again, keep an eye on your credit files to ensure that these accounts have been marked as closed (typically taking 4-6 weeks) and also contact the utility supplier a month after you requested closure to ensure that this is definitely the case.

Remove any financial associates that are no longer relevant

That ‘fun’ ex-housemate of yours has gone their own separate way but you have a feeling that they may not pay their bills on time if you weren’t there to nag ensure that ‘things get done’. Lenders can search any known financial associations credit files if they choose to, which could impact any credit applications you make.

As soon as all financial ties have been severed, contact the credit reference agencies directly or through any credit monitoring services you may use to request their removal.

Once all of the above has been completed you can relax and take full advantage of that new TV. Don’t worry about that grinding noise from your oven, it’ll be fine…

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