Article by George Coburn - 2nd August 2018

Can My Ex Affect My Credit Score?

One of the most common queries we receive at checkmyfile comes 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 did they get there and what can be done about them?

How Financial Associations end up on your report

A Financial Association can be created simply by applying for a joint account, so one could be placed on your report regardless of whether you’re accepted for credit or if you choose to go ahead with the loan. That said, they’re most commonly caused by an active or previously existing joint account that you and your associate have been named on.

Normally a Financial Association will be with a partner, but since utility bills are also often reported to 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.

Find out more using our Guide to Financial Associations

How associations affect your credit report

Three Credit Reference Agencies in the UK hold financial associate information: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. When a lender carries out a credit search on you, they will also search your association’s Credit Report as well. That means 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, and so the same foes for your associate. 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.

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.

Removing Financial Associations

People are often surprised to learn that financial associates aren’t always automatically removed from Credit Files (a process called Disassociation) once all financial ties have been cut. It isn’t uncommon for someone to view their Credit Report and discover an 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 for that entire time.

Before you can remove a Financial Association from your Credit Report, you need to first ensure that all accounts with the individual have been closed. Contrary to popular belief, this on its own doesn’t automatically dissociate someone, but it is one of the necessary steps. 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 each of the Credit Reference Agencies, or allow us to do this on your behalf.

Once the Financial Association is removed, their credit history ceases influencing your Creditworthiness and your information stops being looked at when the past association applies for credit.

To see if you have any active Financial Associations or to get help removing them from your Credit Report, you can try checkmyfile free for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, which you can cancel online, by phone or by email.

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