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.

Default Notices could be sent to consumers, even where a payment holiday is in place

Posted by Richard Catlin in Personal Finance on 11 June 2020 - Richard is Marketing Director at checkmyfile.

Consumers across the UK could be set to receive intimidating ‘Default Notices’ in the post, even though they have opted to take an FCA and lender approved payment holiday.

Section 87(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 sets out in law that creditors must send a letter to any borrower that is behind with the payments set out in the credit agreement between the two parties. It is normally sent went you have missed (or paid less than the full amount) payments for three to six months.

The problem is that this regulation is still in place, meaning that lenders are legally obliged to send these letters – including pre-prescribed wording – to consumers, even though many of those will have explicit permission to have taken a payment holiday.

Payment holidays were one of the first measures put in place by the FCA to try and help consumers struggling or fearful of their ability to cope financially during the coronovirus crisis. With millions of people either furloughed on lower incomes or out of work completely, the measures were designed to give some breathing room without fear of damaging Credit Ratings or triggering short-term debt collection procedures.

Now, the two forms of legislation are at loggerheads and although some lenders have taken steps to let consumers know that they can disregard a Default Notice should they receive one, the potential for increased stress and worry is huge.

Campaign groups and financial charities are working to try and get both the procedure and the wording of letters updated, but getting this done before letters are due to be sent is challenging and unlikely.

Protecting consumers’ Credit Ratings was a key point within the FCA payment holiday legislation. It meant that while interest would still accrue during any break from payments, it would not be recorded as a negative marker.

Default Notices only apply to debts regulated by the Consumer Credit Act, such as personal and payday loans, store cards, hire purchase and ‘buy now pay later’ agreements – all of which have seen a payment holiday of some description introduced.

Mortgages are not covered by the Consumer Credit Act. They are regulated by the FCA and are covered by a set of rules known as the Mortgage Conduct of Business (MCOB) rules. Whether or not similar letters are sent out to mortgage customers remains to be seen.

In the short term, there are two main issues. Firstly, any additional financial stress caused by doom laden yet unnecessary letters is unwelcome to put it mildly. Even with ‘wraparound’ letters from lenders explaining that the Default Notice can be ignored, the contradictory advice is likely to cause extra worry for borrowers.

The other problem is that where consumers haven’t opted to take a payment holiday, Default Notices would still apply. A key piece of advice when the initiative was first introduced was that it wasn’t enough to simply stop paying, consumers had to gain explicit permission (even if it was just a box ticking exercise) from their lender in order to ensure that the arrangement was formalised. This led to huge backlogs at call centres, as consumers rushed to get approval.

Without that agreement, not only could (and legally, should) consumers begin the process of issuing a default, but the customer is unlikely to see their Credit Rating get protection either.

Checking the information being reported for yourself is the only way of being sure that everything is reported as it should be. Different lenders share information with different Credit Reference Agencies in the UK and so the quickest and easiest way of checking everything held about you, with no missing pieces is with checkmyfile.

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

You’ll see everything held about you based on data from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Crediva.

Should you find anything you think looks incorrect, or just need some advice, our team of professionally qualified Credit Analysts are on hand to help. No jargon, just friendly, expert advice. If anything does need to be disputed, we can even do that on your behalf.

Changing name after marriage

Once the wedding ceremony is finished, you’re probably exhausted; excited to enjoy your honeymoon; dive into the wedding gifts; and prepare to send out seemingly thousands of thank-you cards to distant relatives. It’s easy to delay some of the less exciting activities, like contacting your lenders to give them your new name, but is it worth putting it off? Should your Credit Report lie at the bottom of your list of priorities? Not if you plan on applying for literally any type of credit with your new spouse.

Published on 20 Aug 2020 by Kirstie Brown

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Why Is My Loan Balance Wrong On My Credit Report?

One of the most important parts of your Credit Report is your repayment history. Your reported credit accounts will be detailed here, showing how you’ve managed them, as well as any outstanding balances. This account repayment information typically goes back about six years, and will be assessed by lenders during a credit check – helping them come to an informed and responsible lending decision.

Published on 12 Aug 2020 by George Coburn

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

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.

Published on 20 May 2020 by Richard Catlin

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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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