Why Does My Credit File Say I'm Dead?

Posted by Tom Blandford in Credit Reports on 11 April 2018 - Tom is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

For many people, it comes as a shock when they are informed that they are, regrettably, dead. In fact, it can be a downright inconvenience when you’re trying to apply for credit, but end up getting turned down because you’ve been accidentally listed on the Death Register.

If that scenario sounds unlikely, that’s because it is, but that isn’t to say it never happens. On very rare occasions, we have come across customers struggling to obtain credit for this exact reason. In the US it even has its own word: if you can't get credit because the details (and accuracy) surrounding your death have been exaggerated (greatly, or otherwise) you become known as a Credit Zombie.

What is the Death Register?

The Disclosure of Death Registration Information scheme (DDRI) was launched in 2008 and allows the Registrars General for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to report details of new deaths. This information is typically used by Police in the prevention of crime, but is also reported to the Credit Reference Agencies, so prospective lenders can use it to check the status of their applicants.

Disclosure of Death registration Information is legislated by the Police and Justice Act 2006 and the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006. Organisations that share the weekly update of Death Registration must show that they only use this information in the prevention, investigation, or prosecution of criminal offences, and adhere to strict security standards to hold the data.

Why do lenders use the Death Register?

Criminals sometimes attempt to use the details of deceased persons when committing identity fraud, as this practice was historically much harder to detect without the Death Register to refer to. As the best way to check for fraudulent credit accounts being opened in your name is by checking your credit report, fraudsters would often use the deceased as they are less likely to notice.

Use of the Death Register deters this, and can be combined with data from other sources to identify fraudulent attempts on your credit file.

Organisations such as Cifas and National Hunter also give lenders valuable information required to detect fraudulent applications and protect consumers from identity theft. The presence of a fraud warning or a death record will have a similar effect on an application – in both cases, the lender would look more closely at the application to ensure they are truly dealing the individual named on the application.

With automated systems, as are common when applying for store finance, you are more likely to have your application declined immediately as a result of the marker as it requires manual approval.

Could I be on the Death Register?

The vast majority people can be completely confident that their credit report will be clear of any Death Registration information.

As with most things however, mistakes do sometimes happen, and so it makes sense to check for yourself to make sure everything is correct. The Death Register is just one of the many pieces of data on your checkmyfile credit report, and whilst you are much more likely to come across an error in another section, it’s worth a look.

How does this happen?

More often than not, an incorrect death registration happens as a result of a clerical error, rather than anything more sinister. There are safeguards in place to ensure that the data held on your credit report is as accurate as possible, but from time to time, errors can happen.

In May 2018, a glitch in a bank's online banking system caused a number of their customers to be accidentally declared dead, which lead to direct debits being cancelled and their services being terminated. This is because the bank automatically informed the customers' monthly payment commitments of the news as it meant they would no longer be receiving money from these customers. All it would take is for one of these services to report this information to Credit Reference Agencies and all of a sudden that person can no longer apply for credit. It really can be that simple.

How to remove a death registration from credit report

As with any incorrect data on your credit report, the best way to dispute it is by going to the source. In this case that source is not likely to be the DDRI, but any lenders or Credit Reference Agencies that have you listed as deceased. This information should be available to view on your credit report, so you can have the entry amended easily.

Death Registration Information is reported to your credit file by Crediva, which is available to view in the checkmyfile Multi-Agency credit report. If you haven’t already, you can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards.

So the next time somebody gives you a very unexpected reason for declining your application for credit, check your credit report before you start pinching yourself to check you are actually still alive. That person might just be wrong.

The Advantages of a Multi-Agency Credit Report

These days your Credit Report can be checked for any number of reasons throughout the year, including background checks during job applications, landlord checks and even from insurance or utility providers when you shop around for quotes.

Published on 17 May 2019 by Paul Anderson Riley

Full Article

What Lenders Want To See On Your Credit Report

Your Credit Report holds a huge amount of information about you and your past relationship with credit. It’s collated from a wide variety of sources, is always changing and plays a major part in any lending decision - but you shouldn’t be afraid of what it shows.

Published on 2 May 2019 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

What Credit Searches Mean

One of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of Credit Reports are the credit Search Footprints left on your report whenever someone accesses your file.

Published on 25 Apr 2019 by Kirstie Day

Full Article

How to dispute an account error on your report

Whether you’ve been turned down for credit in the past and have checked your Credit Report to make sure there’s nothing there harming your chances, you’re checking ahead of making an application, or you’re just looking to make sure everything is as it should be, there’s never a good time to find a mistake with the information on your report.

Published on 17 Apr 2019 by Kelly Luff

Full Article

Your Rights When Cancelling a New Credit Agreement

For most people applying for credit the main concern is whether or not they will be actually get accepted. But occasionally a change in circumstances (or even just a little time to reflect on your purchase) means that a bigger concern might be whether you can change your mind and withdraw from a credit agreement (be it a credit card, personal loan or other credit facility) after it’s been granted, potentially preventing you from taking on additional financial responsibility that you no longer want or need.

Published on 18 Mar 2019 by Tom Magor

Full Article

Creditworthiness and Affordability – Which is Which

When reading the small print on most applications for credit, you’ve probably noticed two words regularly popping up: Creditworthiness and Affordability. Both of these measures are used by a vast majority of lenders when assessing your application, so understanding what each one means goes a long way to explaining why you may or may not be accepted for credit.

Published on 22 Feb 2019 by Ben Tumilty

Full Article

What Information Is On My Credit Report?

If you’ve ever taken out a loan, credit card, or other form of finance, you’ll know that the difference between acceptance and rejection relies heavily on the outcome of what the lender finds when it checks your Credit Report.

Published on 4 Jan 2019 by Paul Anderson-Riley

Full Article

Can Right to Erasure Get Rid of Bad Credit History?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR for short) was introduced on 25 May 2018 and unless you’ve managed to avoid the internet and checking your emails completely for the past year, you’re likely to have been bombarded with messages from nervous sounding websites updating their data policies.

Published on 3 Jan 2019 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article

Why Searches Can’t Be Removed From Your Credit Report

The Searches section of your Credit Report shows you who has accessed the information on your Credit Report within the last couple of years. This effectively acts as a log of when you’ve checked your own Report, as well as a record of lenders checking as a result of applications for credit in your name. You’re also likely to see searches relating to prospective employers, landlords, insurance companies and other identity checks.

Published on 2 Jan 2019 by Beth Jennings

Full Article

How To Take Out Credit When Overseas In The Armed Forces

It’s no secret that the number of the UK’s active military personnel is set to decline further between now and 2020, but of the 145,000 UK Regular Forces across the Army, Navy and Air Force in 2018, as many as 18,500 served overseas during that time. With the recent news that the Army will accept recruits from commonwealth countries as well, a further portion of our armed forces is likely to be based overseas in the coming years.

Published on 27 Dec 2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article


We are rated number 1 for customer service on