Can my ex impact on my credit score

Posted by George Coburn in Credit Reports on 28 March 2017 - George is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

One of the most common queries we receive at checkmyfile come from customers who view their credit report and discover that they’re still financially associated with an ex-partner.

These names from relationships past have a habit of lingering on credit files and can be the reason behind someone with an immaculate payment history getting declined following a credit check. So, how do they get there and what can be done about them?

A financial association can be created simply by applying for credit in joint names, so one could be placed on your report even if you don’t subsequently agree to continue the application. That said, they’re normally on your report because you have been joint named on a credit agreement such as a bank account, loan or mortgage.

Normally a financial association will be with a partner but since utility bills are also often reported to the credit reference agencies, it isn’t uncommon for people who share a property to have financial associations with each other if they’re all named on the credit agreement.

There are three credit reference agencies in the UK that hold financial associate information; Callcredit, Equifax and Experian. Whenever you apply for credit, the lender will request information in your name and everything that belongs to your financial associates. Information is then combined and a credit score calculated on all of it.

The presence of just one default, county court judgment (CCJ) or insolvency on someone’s credit file will normally be enough to stop them getting accepted by a typical lender. For this reason, someone could have a completely immaculate payment history, be on the Electoral Roll and have no court records on their credit report but if their financial association has negative information on their report, this could result in their application being declined.

What surprises people is that financial associates aren’t always automatically removed from credit files once all financial ties have been cut. It isn’t uncommon for someone to view their credit report and discover a financial association with an ex-partner they’ve not had any contact with for 10+ years, which would have been impacting their chances to get credit since then.

For security reasons, whenever your credit file is accessed, a search entry will be placed on it to reflect the fact your information has been viewed. The type of search will depend on the company who ran the credit check but it isn’t uncommon to see a credit application search on someone’s file following their financial associate applying for credit. From a future lender’s perspective, this could look like you’ve recently been applying for credit when you haven’t, so it is normally best to get old financial associates removed.

Before you can remove a financial associate from your credit report, you need to first ensure that all accounts with the individual have been closed. It then normally takes 4 to 6 weeks for the lender responsible for reporting the link to update the credit reference agencies that either the account has been closed or that one of your names has been removed from the credit agreement. You can then raise a disassociation request with the agencies.

Once the financial association is removed, their credit file ceases influencing your creditworthiness and your information stops being looked at when the past association applies for credit.

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