Want to be debt-free and improve your credit? Well, the first thing you need to do is to check your credit report! You never know what these credit reference agencies may have incorrectly listed against your name. They may still have you residing at the various addresses where you’ve lived in the recent or even distant past.
My credit report was so inconsistent that I couldn’t borrow a fiver on credit less than a month before I started this journey. Here’s what I did to resolve the issues.
Start the Free 30-day Trial
Each of the main credit reference agencies will offer you a free 30-day trial to entice you to use the credit report services. In the UK and USA these are:
Checked all the details they have on you. Each credit agency holds slightly different information, so make sure you check each one of them carefully.
Fight to Clean your Credit Report
It can take several hours on the phone to remove just one incorrectly listed default, so be warned. Removing defaults from your credit report will be well worth the effort for the positive effect it will have on your credit score. Just one default removal can drastically improve your ability to access more cost-effective finance for mortgages or car loans you may have been turned down for in the past.
You may need to prove that you are registered to vote at your home address, for example. Despite living at the same address for over twenty years and being a regular voter, the credit agencies did not have my information up-to-date. Many lenders use your right to vote to verify your identity. For some reason, however, none of the credit reference agencies had me listed as registered to vote.
Again, this kind of incorrect information can drastically affect your ability to get personal loans, bank accounts, credit cards, or even a decent mortgage rate.
Stay On It – Don’t Give Up!
It may take you months of writing back and forth before you get misleading information removed and updated. Old debts that should have misleading information removed and updated. I even found one debt still listed on my credit report more than ten years after my business folded. All personal debts should be wiped clean after six years in the United Kingdom; the length of time may differ in your country but the principle remains the same.
Ever wondered why your loan repayment interest rates are sky-high? Negative information of this sort on your credit report may be to blame for higher than average insurance quotes, credit card rates, and a whole lot more.
Once I had managed to repair my credit report, I checked that everything on it is as it should be. I then decided to cancel the 30-day free trials. If I did not stop these subscriptions, they would start charging me monthly fees on my debit card for services that I could well do without.
Apply for New Finance to Boost your Credit Report
You’ll want to keep an eye on your credit report for the future. Try the free for life Credit Karma service. CreditKarma.com keeps you up-to-date with information pulled from Callcredit, but also gives you other great options to help you save money, and apply for new credit facilities, too. Clearscore is a similar company that gives UK customers free and useful information on cheap finance and keeping a watchful eye on your credit report.
The American Express British Airways Credit Card – Try it!
The ability to get credit is what makes you credit-worthy. Having no credit history is not a good thing in the eyes of banks and other lenders. One of the fantastic advantages of cleaning up my credit report is that I was able to apply for an American Express credit card. It was Amex who had me listed as a defaulter on a ten-year-old debt. When I queried it, they sent me a cheque for £75 as an apology.
Imagine my surprise a few months later when they sent me a credit card with a £5,000 balance. I make sure to pay off my debt every month. The Amex card is super convenient. It earns me British Airways frequent flyer miles and many other benefits from a range of participating brands and outlets. They’ve now upped my credit to £15,000 but I rarely spend more than £1,000 in any given month. I then get 30-days to pay it back without incurring interest.
Good luck in your attempts to clean up your credit report! I hope you’ve found my experience useful. Let us know in the comments section how you get on or if you have any tips for our readers.
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