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A question we get asked on a regular basis is how often should I check my credit report?
There is no correct answer as to how often, because it can vary among those who are credit active. Some advisors state to check your credit file annually, or once a year. However, if you are very credit active, such as someone who uses credit all the time, such as taking out loans and paying them off regularly, you may wish to check your credit file on a more regular basis.
So what are the major credit bureaus to check, and what are you looking for?
UK Credit Bureaus
In the UK there are three (3) major credit bureaus that accept information from banks, lenders, and other companies, and use this data to compile your credit report.
Transunion (formally Callcredit)
You can check your credit report, in some instances for free, or a small fee, and in doing so you do not impact your credit score.
Errors and Omissions
So what are you looking for when you check your credit file?
You are looking for any errors or omissions. You want to make sure all your details are correct, your name, address, etc, and that the accounts you have are reported accurately. You are also reviewing your credit report for any omissions, any accounts you have that are not being reported.
Each credit bureau has a way to contact them, usually via a form on their web sites, and instructions on how to report any errors.
Notice of Disassociation
A Notice of Disassociation can be requested by you to be placed on your credit report after the credit bureau can confirm certain factors.
A Notice of Disassociation may be requested if in the past you have been financially linked to someone, or someone at your address has had bad or poor credit, or gone bankrupt. You cannot use this if you are jointly on a loan or credit, or a guarantor.
It is basically used to let lenders know you are no longer financially associated with someone.
You can place a statement of a certain length or number of words on your credit report explaining, or giving your side of the story regarding an account, or accounts.
A simple statement may make is to state you were made redundant and unemployed from (insert dates here).
This would show any future lenders that if you had any defaults or late payments during that period of time, it was due to not working.
The major issue with a Notice of Disassociation and also Consumer Statements, is that they may last longer on your credit file, then any issue you may have had in the past. These statements bring the past into the present and more into light.
As time passes, any credit issues you have become less likely to be an issue. And all accounts are to drop off your credit file after six (6) years.