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.

CREDIT REPORT SERVICES AND ONLINE EXPERT HELP ARE FULLY OPERATIONAL - PHONE LINES ARE CLOSEDCOVID-19 STATUS

ONLINE SERVICES FULLY OPERATIONAL
PHONE LINES ARE CLOSEDCOVID-19 STATUS

Why a good Credit Rating is a bit like a VIP theme park pass

Posted by Richard Catlin in Personal Finance on 20 May 2020 - Richard is Marketing Director at checkmyfile.

Getting approved for a new credit card or loan could be about to get more difficult, as lenders tighten their belts in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

2020 started well for the personal finance market, with plenty of credit available for consumers, but the most recent Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey reveals that lenders expected availability to decrease in the coming months.

The survey, which aggregates data anonymously across a panel of lenders, also predicts that around a third of lenders will tighten up lending criteria, meaning that even where products are on offer, it will prove harder to get accepted and mean that creditworthiness is likely to become even more important as a factor.

Why are lenders lending less?

There are a number of reasons for the gloomy outlook painted by the survey results, the data for which was collected across the first few months of March when the coronavirus pandemic was starting to really take hold just before the UK lockdown was formally announced by PM Boris Johnson.

As far as mortgages are concerned, a big part of the problem is simply the limitations imposed by social distancing guidelines. As well as the number of house viewings – and therefore new transactions - being severely limited, lenders have been unable to conduct full surveys and valuations. Without the extra reassurance of such surveys, lending has been restricted on properties above a certain value or loan-to-value.

Fear that property prices may fall is also playing a part, again especially where LTV rates are higher, meaning that mortgage lenders are more exposed to negative equity than they would want to be.

The easing of those restrictions in mid-May could alleviate some of those barriers, but availability of credit is still almost certain to be down on what it was at the start of the year.

In general terms, both secured and unsecured lending is also likely to be limited by lenders being more cautious, at least for a while.

Alongside all this is the harsh but true fact that large numbers of consumers will either lose their jobs or see their income (at least in the short term) fall, even before lending criteria is considered. The lack of a regular income would be one of the first things to prevent an application from proceeding.

Why might consumer demand for credit fall away?

With an estimated 25% of the UK’s workforce being supported by the government’s furlough scheme, and many more far from certain over their future, non-essential spending is on hold for a large proportion of the population. That has a direct impact on the need for credit.

Even if consumers were prepared to spend money on things other than grocery shopping, home office equipment and new exercise kit, the capacity to do so is severely limited right now.

For example, new car registrations fell 97% in April compared with the same month in 2019, with just 4,321 new cars being sold. Over 80% of new car sales are funded by finance, leaving a big hole in that particular market. Even when new car sales are allowed to resume, it’s likely that volumes will be down for some time.

International travel and holidays are another industry that has been decimated. With a large proportion of people using credit cards when overseas – and many of those getting a card specifically for that reason – the volume of new applicants for that reason is likely to drop off.

The story is the same across a huge variety of industries – home renovations are largely on hold, and credit cards with rewards like airmiles are surely a thing of the past.

What can consumers that are looking to borrow money do?

Lending and borrowing isn’t about to stop dead - banks need to lend money and consumers will always need to borrow it. But with lenders potentially becoming that bit more selective over which applications they approve, a strong Credit Rating is going to be even more important than ever.

Lenders want to be as sure as they can be that whenever they do lend money, they stand a very good chance of getting it back, and on time – basically evaluating risk.

One of the main factors used in working that out is credit scoring, where the way that you have managed credit agreements in the past (combined with a number of other factors) is used as an indicator of how you’re likely to behave in the future.

There is another layer to any application, known as rating for risk. That essentially means that as well as determining the overall outcome of an application, your Credit Rating will help determine the interest rate and credit limit you are offered – with better deals and lower interest rates reserved for customers with better ratings.

The information that is used for these decisions is held by the UKs Credit Reference Agencies – each holding and reporting different information.. Different lenders will use different agencies to assess applications and will very often (and definitely in the case of mortgages) check what is being reported at more than just one agency.

Even in ‘normal’ times, if your Credit Report isn’t in tip-top shape – either because of your past credit history or because of error in the data (they’re rare, but they do happen), you might find yourself struggling to get approved. It seems that’s about to become even more true.

You can think of an excellent Credit Rating a bit like those priority passes you can get at theme parks – they help you go to the front of the queue and you’re unlikely to be turned away. It’s quicker, easier and less stressful.

So, even if you’re not thinking of applying for credit immediately, it pays to make sure that everything is as it should be.

The fastest, easiest and best way to check everything being reported on your Credit Report across all four of the UKs Credit Reference Agencies is with checkmyfile.

You’ll find no gaps, just the most detailed service there is, with the best customer service to match. If you do find something you need help with, our professionally qualified Credit Analysts are on hand to help.

You can try checkmyfile free for 30 days, after which it’s £14.99 a month. You can cancel online whenever you like, without fuss or quibble.

Virtual House Viewings for the self isolating home hunter

Virtual house viewings are soaring in popularity among house buyers as the UK government brings in tough measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. Among these changes is a shift towards reducing the size and number of social gatherings and a requirement for people to only leave their homes if absolutely necessary. Entire industries are entangled in the coronavirus’ grasp and these protective measures, while rightly designed to diminish the impact and spread of the virus, will inevitably have a knock-on effect that goes way beyond socialising.

Published on 14 Apr 2020 by Sam Griffin

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Can you still get a credit card during coronavirus?

Credit cards are increasingly in demand as the coronavirus pandemic develops across the world. Since the start of March, UK Googlers have been searching for ‘credit’ at rapid rate and it’s no surprise why. Workers across the country are finding their employment and income uncertain amid the financial challenges posed by Covid-19. Many will inevitably lean on credit and financing for a little more purchasing power during this period of uncertainty.

Published on 7 Apr 2020 by Sam Griffin

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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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Applying for credit at christmas

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.

Published on 23 Dec 2019 by Beth Reeves

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