Covid 19 Status

In line with HM Government requirements to fight the spread of Covid-19 we have measures in place to ensure that we protect our staff, their families and the wider community, but also to ensure that there is minimal disruption to our customers.

Your access to online Multi Agency Credit Reports, Expert Help and Account Management remains unaffected. We take great pride in the support that we provide to our customers and throughout this period will do all we can to minimise the impact on our services. While the country remains in lockdown we will continue to support your queries via a dedicated and experienced team that will be securely working from home, and supported by a Management Team that will continue to be based at our head office and who will be able to provide customer support as required.

The security measures that we have in place to protect your Personal Data, in line with our Privacy Policy, will mean that some elements of our personalised support are affected during this period as our support team will be working with anonymised data when working remotely. Freephone access to our Credit Analysts has been removed during this period while we focus our efforts on continuing to reply to all of your emails and secure messages within one working day.

Thanks for your understanding, and we hope to have full customer support available as soon as possible and wish you well during these challenging times.



Applying for credit at christmas

Posted by Beth Reeves in Personal Finance on 23 December 2019

Christmas is known as the season of giving, but it can be easy to go overboard. There are two very important questions you should ask yourself before launching Christmas presents at everyone: ‘How much is this going to cost?’ and ‘What’s in it for me?’ Let’s find out.

The cost of Christmas

Market research group Mintel has predicted that we will spend a collective £47.7 billion celebrating Christmas this year in the UK, a 4% increase from last December. UK consumers spent an average of £567 on Christmas in 2018 - that’s 46% more than the European average, says Deloitte’s 2018 Christmas Survey.

But with the price of Christmas steadily increasing, how are we covering those costs? Well, it appears that many of us rely on credit to help finance a good chunk of the holiday season.

The debt charity StepChange found that:

  • one third of Brits will be using credit to pay for part, or all, of their Christmas spending this year
  • 25% of people will use ‘buy now pay later’ credit this Christmas
  • it will take on average 7 months to pay off their Christmas credit spending

Each year shoppers hop into the spinning cycle of Christmas credit, which leaves them closer to next December before they’ve settled the previous bill. Christmas is clearly a good time for lenders as well as retailers, as budgeting seems to go out the window with demand for costly purchases sky high. Used in the right way though, credit isn’t a bad thing at all.

What will Christmas borrowing mean for your Credit Score?

A history of good repayment behaviour is crucial for a good Credit Score and, just like Father Christmas’s beard, the longer it is, the better. If you can show a long-standing positive repayment history on your Credit Report, then you’re heading in the right direction for a strong Credit Rating.

If you decide to add an extra credit card or loan to your collection this Christmas, the account could contribute positively to your overall Credit Report, providing all payments are made on time and that there isn’t too much debt already on there.

Lenders ultimately want to find customers they believe have the lowest risk of missing payments, and one of the best indicators of how reliable you will be as a borrower is to assess your repayment history. Put simply, the more evidence you have demonstrating good repayment behaviour, the less risk you carry, which means lenders will find you more financially attractive.

The blight before Christmas

It's easy to get carried away during the holidays, but the golden rule of credit should never be forgotten: make sure that everything is paid on time each month, without fail.

Any missed payments will go down as a negative marker on your Credit Report. These adverse entries will harm your overall creditworthiness and even a single late payment can undo months of hard work building it up. Imagine your Credit Score as a Lego house you’ve built brick by brick. Now imagine dropping it on the kitchen floor, with little bricks flying everywhere. That’s a late payment. You can build it back up, but it’ll take time and effort and it’s just a bit of a mess.

Late payments will haunt you for the next six Christmases and make it more difficult to be accepted for credit with other lenders. Even if a lender does accept your application, there’s a chance you’ll be offered a more expensive rate because with negative information recorded against you, you represent a higher perceived risk.

Applying for credit

Whenever you make an application for credit, a Credit Application Search will be added to your Credit Report – this is the ominous ‘credit check’. The Credit Application Search marker on your Credit Report will detail the company you applied with, the date, and your name and address. These search entries aren’t negative markers on their own, but if you have too many in a short period, then they can start to damage your creditworthiness.

An abundance of Credit Application Searches can signal a desperation for credit that many lenders want to avoid. This is important to keep in mind at Christmas time, when applying for credit to spread the cost of the tree, the turkey and the presents can be all too tempting.

How many applications is too many?

There’s no definite limit and this is often an overhyped part of a credit application, but all lenders have unique criteria and consider Credit Application Searches differently. Throughout the year though, one credit application each month is considered average – this number may fluctuate, especially around the holiday season.

It’s worth noting that the outcome of any applications won’t feature on your Credit Report – just the information relating to the search itself. Potential lenders aren’t going to know whether you were accepted or declined for your previous applications just by looking at the Credit Application Searches.

How do I check my Credit Report?

You can see any credit applications on your Credit Report, along with your credit accounts’ repayment history, Court Records and lots more information that will be visible to a potential lender by viewing your Credit Report for yourself.

If you haven’t already, you can check your Multi Agency Credit Report with checkmyfile. It’s free for 30 days, then just £14.99 per month, which you can cancel quickly and easily online, by email, or by freephone. Our Multi Agency Credit Report is the only one in the UK to show your complete information from all four Credit Reference Agencies, so you can be certain you’re seeing everything you need.

Statutory Sick Pay: What you can get

Recent health concerns in the UK are starting to worry workers – and that’s putting it mildly. Pandemics and tumbling stock prices are rarely good for business and, where businesses struggle, often so to do the personal finances of workers. But what happens if you fall ill in the middle of all this?

Published on 19 Mar 2020 by Sam Griffin

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Lloyds and Nationwide to offer coronavirus mortgage payment holidays

Lloyds Banking Group – which includes Bank of Scotland and Halifax – is just one lending organisation that’s offering to help ease financial pressure on customers impacted by the recent coronavirus (Covid-19). Mortgage payment holidays are the most talked about measure, but there’s a host of other measures for renters and credit card customers too. Worries over debt repayments are understandably widespread, as the virus continues to damage not just the health of workers across the UK but businesses and share prices overall.

Published on 19 Mar 2020 by Sam Griffin

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Everything you need to know about buy now pay later

One of the latest trends in retail is the growing popularity of buy now, pay later schemes. The premise of buy now, pay later is exactly as it sounds, allowing shoppers to delay and stagger payment for a product that they can take home immediately.

Published on 2 Mar 2020 by Andrew Brown

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Child maintenance court records to show on your credit report

Since March 2015, The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has been sharing information with the UK’s Credit Reference Agencies. This means missed Child Maintenance payments can be flagged up on a late payer’s Credit Report, potentially harming their Credit Rating and making a successful credit application – whether a mortgage, credit card, or loan to name a few – even more tricky.

Published on 20 Jan 2020 by Kirstie Brown

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How Far Back Can I get my Credit History?

For your recent payment history information, your Credit Report has everything you need; that’s why it’s given so much importance by lenders whenever you apply for credit. But if you’re looking for information that’s six years old or more, it’s probably not be the best place to start.

Published on 10 Jan 2020 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

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Blue Monday: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Once Christmas is done and dusted, tree packed away or sent for shredding, and decorations retired for another year, a powerful mindset seems to swiftly grip the UK, leaving everyone convinced that January is the worst time of the year. The Christmas spirit has floated out the window as quickly as it arrived, and we’re left with cold, rainy days and the inevitable mountain of credit card bills.

Published on 2 Jan 2020 by Sam Griffin

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Do New Year's Resolutions Work?

Before launching yourself into a New Year’s resolution, it’s worth treating the age old tradition like any other product or service – check out reviews from people that have already tried it, see if it’s worth the effort and – crucially – find out whether or not it will actually work.

Published on 24 Dec 2019 by Sam Griffin

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Which Credit Report Information Can Landlords See

These days whenever you rent a property you may be required to pass checks set by the landlord or letting agent to prove that you will be a good tenant and can reliably make rent payments to the property on time.

Published on 20 Dec 2019 by Kevin Pearce

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CCJs or County Court Judgments

It’s no secret that the levels of unpaid debts in the UK have been rising over the last few years, as household incomes stagnate and everything else in this world seemingly becomes more expensive. According to Credit Action, debt per adult is over £31,000 – or around 110% of average earnings. It’s also projected to take a whopping 26 years of consistent, minimum monthly payments to clear an average credit card. Debt may be all around us, but what happens when payments can’t be made when they fall due?

Published on 6 Dec 2019 by Kevin Pearce

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Could your Netflix and Spotify subscriptions help build your Credit Score?

Building creditworthiness takes time and diligence. At the heart of improving your Credit Rating is the simple habit of managing existing credit agreements well, and proving to potential lenders that you are a good credit risk.

Published on 31 Oct 2019 by Andrew Brown

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