Finding something negative on your credit record is bad enough – but it feels a lot worse if you think it is wrong or unreasonable.
You have the legal right (in the Consumer Credit Act (1974) ) to add a “Notice of Correction” to your credit report if you feel something is misleading or you want to provide an explanation.
What is a Notice of Correction?
A Notice of Correction is a something you write to add to an entry on your credit record, either to a judgement (CCJ) or a debt. It has to be less than 200 words long.
Here are two examples suggested by the credit reference agencies:
- In 1997 I left a multi-national organisation after 15 years to start my own business. Due to illness of a close family member, I was unable to fulfil all my commitments and my company nearly went under. I am now successfully repaying former debts and will soon have fully repayed them. I have never previously experienced the slightest blot on my character and believe anybody with a previous good record deserves a second chance to prove her true worth. Thank you
- I, Mr/Ms XXXXXX, would like to explain the circumstances that led to the judgment dated DD/MM/YY. I became unemployed and my income was reduced to XXXXXX, and therefore unfortunately I was unable to keep the original payment contract. I ask all lenders searching my credit report to take this into account.
Both those examples accept that the entry is accurate and just give some background. You could also say if you feel the entry is unfair, or if you think there is extra information that a future lender should know. For example:
- I only became aware of this CCJ/default in 2017. Until then I had not received any notification about the amount owing and I paid it as soon as I established I did indeed owe the money;
- I don’t think it’s fair that a default was added as I wasn’t given any warning this would happen even though I was making payments towards the debt;
- I am not on the electoral roll as I am an American citizen, but I have lived in the UK for 12 years and at my current address for 3 years.
It’s best to keep it short and factual. Don’t write something which is offensive as the CRA may refuse to publish it. You may have been left with large debts when your thieving, lying, cheating ex walked out, but just refer to your financial difficulty after a relationship breakdown.
Adding a Notice of Correction to your credit reports
There are three credit reference agencies (CRAs) in Britain.
If the problem is with a CCJ, all three CRAs will show the same thing. Then you only need to send your Notice of Correction to Experian as they will pass on your wording to the other two CRAs.
If your problem is with a debt, the three CRAs may have different information showing so you need to check all three CRAs (luckily you don’t have to pay for this) and then contact each of them where you want to add your correction.
When you are sending in your wording, make sure:
- you give your full name, date of birth and address;
- if you are sending a letter, sign it!
How to add a Notice of Correction to Experian
Experian explains how to contact them with your Notice of Correction here . Select “Errors on my Experian report” and then “I want to explain something on my Experian credit report”. As that says, if you have an account with them, it can be done online, otherwise send them a letter.
How to add a Notice of Correction to Equifax
To add a correction to your Equifax record, you need to sign up to their Ask A Question service, then submit it online, as explained here.
How to add a Notice of Correction to TransUnion
TransUnion is the new name for Call Credit,
Is it worth bothering with this?
A Notice of Correction you add will be supplied to any lender who is looking at your credit record. This doesn’t mean they will change their mind about whether to provide you with credit because of it. It can’t do any harm, but it may not do much good.
It will also slow down applications for credit, as it has to be manually checked, rather than a computer making the decision.
If you think something on your credit report is wrong, then you need to complain directly with the creditor. Adding a Notice of Correction is not a way to start a complaint! Some specific cases:
- send the creditor a Prove It! letter if you don’t recognise the debt;
- if you think the default date is wrong, read What should the default date be?
- when a debt has been sold to a debt collector, it is correct that a second record is added, see My debt has been sold to a debt collector for details.
If you are applying for a mortgage, you can’t rely on the Notice of Correction making much of a difference. If you have any problems with your credit record, you should be going through a broker, not applying directly to a lender.