What are address links and why are they on my file

Posted by George Coburn in Credit Reports on 13 January 2017 - George is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

It can be quite daunting to someone who has never checked their credit file to see the sheer amount of historic information that is held about them by the credit reference agencies, and this is certainly true for address links.

Whenever you apply for credit, you are able to provide the lender your current and up to two previous addresses and this is how the company requests your credit file from a credit reference agency. The agency itself will also have a record of previous addresses the individual has previously lived at, and information will also be returned from there.

From a lender’s perspective, address links help ensure that potential customers don’t intentionally omit a previous address they know has negative information such as defaulted accounts or a CCJ registered to. For possible customers, since they are limited to providing 3 addresses for the credit check, the address links help make sure old, closed accounts at an un-provided address are also factored into the lender’s decision on whether or not to accept them.

The most common reason for an address link to be created on someone’s file is when they move address and update their lenders with their new one. By amending their records, the lender will advise the agencies of the change and an address link is placed on their file. This ensures that by searching the person’s current address, information is returned from the linked address as well.

When applying for credit, if you provide an address that the agency didn’t already hold as a linked address for you, this could also create a link on your credit file. For this reason, it is quite common to see an old, forgotten financial associate’s new address appearing on someone’s file if they don’t request the association is removed. When a financial associate applies for credit, your file will be checked using the current and previous addresses provided by the individual. If an address isn’t already showing on your report, there’s a chance one will be created.

As well as ensuring information is returned from old addresses, address links also help make sure that everything is provided from your current address too. If you’re someone with an address with multiple formats, for example the address could have a name instead of a number or could be Flat 10 or Apartment 10, you may find that lenders notify the agencies of some of the different variations of your address. By searching the one format of your address, the links then help ensure information held under different variations is also returned meaning a more complete file is used to assess your creditworthiness.

It is a common misconception that address links themselves factor into your score, which is untrue. Instead, it is the information returned from an address link that will be used. If nothing is returned from an address link, it’ll therefore have absolutely no impact on your creditworthiness.

Address links remain on your credit file indefinitely but the older they are, the less likely there will be information returned from them when you apply for credit. When you view your credit report, there will be a date listed for when the address was reported to the agencies but this is simply when it was reported and not a reflection of when you lived at the address. The dates on address links aren’t used by lenders.

An address link on your credit file can indicate something wrong is when you don’t recognise it. An unknown one on your credit report could be an indication of fraud. If you don’t recognise an address link, it is advisable to double check no information is being reported from there on your credit file and speaking to the company providing the address as it would be able to advise you further. If they conclude the address shouldn’t be showing, a lender is able to amend it on your credit report.

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