Article by George Coburn - 31st December 2019

What Are Address Links And Why Are They On My File?

The sheer amount of historic information held by Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) can seem daunting when seen for the first time. This is certainly true for address links, which show current and historic addresses, as well as additional addresses that lenders think may be linked to you. But you can rest easy, because they're nothing to fear.

Where do address links come from?

Whenever you apply for credit, you are required to provide the lender with your current address, as well as up to two previous addresses. This is how the lender requests your Credit Report from a CRA during the credit checking process.

Following a change of address, a lender will advise the CRAs of their customer’s new information, and an address link is placed on their Credit Report. This ensures that lenders always have up-to-date contact details for their customers.

What are address links for?

From a lender’s perspective, address links help ensure that potential customers don’t intentionally omit a previous address where they have acquired negative information such as late payments, defaulted accounts or a CCJ. While this negative information affects the individual themselves, not the address, some people may still try to evade making payments by moving to a different address without telling creditors.

As potential customers are typically limited to providing three addresses for a credit check, the address links allow lenders to see whether there are any outstanding payments in their name at previous addresses which may not have been included on the application. Address links are essentially just a way of ensuring that information registered to an old address isn’t missed when the credit check is performed.

Linked addresses from Financial Associations

If you have any Financial Associations on your Credit Report, you may also see any changes to their address appear. When a Financial Associate applies for credit, your Credit Report will be checked using the current and previous addresses provided by the individual. If an address isn’t already showing on your report, there’s a chance one will be created.

As well as ensuring information is returned from old addresses, address links also help make sure that everything is provided from your current address too. If you’re someone with an address with multiple formats (for example, the address could have a name instead of a number or could be Flat 10 or Apartment 10) you may find that lenders notify the CRAs of some of the different variations of your address. By searching the one format of your address, the links then help ensure information held under different variations is also returned meaning a more complete Credit Report is used to assess your creditworthiness.

How do address links affect your Credit Score?

It is a common misconception that address links themselves factor into your Credit Score. Instead, it is the information returned from an address link that will be used. If nothing is returned from an address link, it’ll have absolutely no impact on your Credit Score.

What to do if you don't recognise an address

Linked addresses on your Credit Report should only be cause for concern when you don’t recognise one, as it could be an indication of fraudulent activity.

If you don’t recognise an address on your Credit Report, it is advisable to check that no accounts or information are tied to it in your name, as you could be held accountable for them. As with any incorrect information on your Credit Report, you should query it at the source as soon as possible. If you contact the organisation that created the address link and it accepts it is an error, it should remove the entry from your Credit Report.

It’s not just important to check your Credit Report regularly to know when new information is added, but making sure it’s reported correctly by all Credit Reference Agencies will ensure that any companies you apply with only see correct, up-to-date information.

If you are wondering what addresses potential lenders will see when viewing your Credit Report, you can view your Multi Agency Credit Report free for 30 days, then just £14.99 per month. It’s quick to sign-up and easy to cancel.

Updated 31/12/2019 by Sam Griffin

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