Disputing a Late Payment or Arrears Marker on your Credit Report

Posted by Kirstie Brown in Credit Reports on 1 March 2017 - Kirstie is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile.

Many of us have been there – we have too many things on our mind and as a result we may have missed a payment on our credit card or loan. But what happens when you check your credit file and spot a late payment or case of arrears that you are adamant has not occurred? Where do you stand and what can you do to rectify the error?

We often hear cases from individuals who find themselves being declined for a store card, loan or phone contract and have no idea what the cause of the declined application is. The lender may point you towards obtaining a copy of your credit report, and in some cases there might not be anything obvious that would have resulted in an application being declined.

On the other hand, if you do not regularly check your report to keep an eye on the information being reported, it is possible that a particular late payment entry or other negative payment history may have gone unnoticed until you find yourself declined for credit.

The first thing to do if you find incorrect negative payment history is to speak to the lender who has reported the entry, to query why the entry has been made. Although this may seem daunting or perhaps like a lost cause, by contacting the source of the information it is often the most effective way of getting the matter resolved.

The lender is in control of the information reported to the credit reference agencies and they are therefore able to investigate this for you – any information they agree to be incorrect will be amended or removed as necessary. A response is usually received within 28 days, but if the lender is unable to locate the account or if you are unhappy with the response, you can raise a Notice of Dispute with the credit reference agency that reports the disputed entry.

This is a service that checkmyfile offers to active subscribers – a dispute can be raised with both Callcredit and Equifax. Once raised with a particular agency, they in turn will contact the lender, who would need to show that the entry reported has been done correctly. If the lender is unable to do this, the entry would be amended on your report.

Depending on the level of investigation that would be needed, disputing information in this manner can take 4-6 weeks and would be a suitable option if the lender is unable to assist you.

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