If you are looking to borrow money, then knowing what’s on your credit report can be essential. What you may not know is that if there is something that you think is incorrect or misleading, you can add a notice of correction to your report. We’re here to break down why you may want to do this and how to go about doing it.
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What is a notice of correction?
A notice of correction is a short statement that can be added to individual items on your credit report. These are things that you believe create a misleading impression of your financial habits. For example, there may have been an occasion where you missed a repayment because of illness. Or you may have been a victim of identity theft.
A notice of correction must not be longer than 200 words and should explain why a debt is showing up. Its purpose is to highlight that a missed payment is out of the ordinary for you.
The main thing to bear in mind is that a notice of correction is only to be used for one-off incidences. If you regularly miss your repayments then this suggests a consistent pattern.
How do you write one?
You can write a notice of correction yourself. Or, if you would prefer, the text can be prepared with the help of an organisation like Citizens Advice or a solicitor.
It needs to give a clear and accurate explanation as to why you think the individual item is incorrect or misleading. The trick is to steer clear of emotional language. It needs to be based on fact rather than your own personal opinions on the matter.
So if it is a case that you missed a payment because the bill didn’t arrive in time, try to back this up with relevant dates. However, make sure that whatever you write is non-discriminatory and that it doesn’t make reference to another individual or organisation.
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Once written, you just need to contact the relevant credit reference agency. They can then add the notice of correction to your report.
Do lenders read it?
Lenders are legally obliged to read a notice of correction. However, they don’t have to take them into account when deciding whether or not to lend you money.
Unfortunately, over time, notices have become devalued. They can be seen as ‘excuses’ for missing payments and can slow down credit applications.
However, they can be helpful if you have been a victim of fraud. Lenders then know that any applications in your name will be subject to additional manual verification checks.
When applying for a credit card, loan or mortgage, it could be a good idea to check out your credit report before making an application. If, when doing this, you spot something that you think is incorrect or misleading, this your opportunity to add a notice of correction.
Just remember that notices should be used sparingly on individual items that are out of character for you. They can be a useful tool if you have been a victim of identity fraud, but try to avoid using them as something to make excuses for poor financial management.
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