Consumers across the country could lose their homes or encounter other serious financial difficulties as a result of errors in their credit files they are unaware of.
That’s according to research conducted by guarantor lender Amigo Loans, which found that 42 percent of people who check their credit report find mistakes – the equivalent to almost 10 million people across the country.
Those seeking to apply for credit, mortgages, new mobile phone contracts or better utility deals face rejection as a result of the mistakes.
However, just one in seven (15 percent) know how to report the errors to a credit rating agency. Almost one in 10 (nine percent) spoke with their bank/provider – which cannot help – and a similar number (eight percent) turned to family and friends for advice. Around 11 percent admit they took no action at all, with five percent admitting they had no idea how to correct it.
The study also found that only two in five (41 percent) of people have actually checked their credit report, with just one in five (21 percent) looking in the past month. As a result, the true figure could be far higher, as so few people check the records kept on them.
The proportion of people who have spotted mistakes on their report was highest among those aged 18-24 years (44 percent), while those aged 55+ (23 percent) were the least likely.
Errors can occur as a result of the fact that a large number of people and systems are involved in the reporting process. However, fraudulent activity is a perennial issue, while being linked to another individual’s financial history can have an impact on credit files.
Issues can range from the relatively benign such as misspelled addresses, to the more serious inaccurately reported payment default, which can and does result in being refused credit for everything from the energy to heat your home to a new TV contract.
Kelly Davies, chief communications officer at Amigo Loans said: “We’d like to see this system changed. It’s not an easy job with a number of different credit reference agencies, all holding slightly different information, using words and formats people aren’t familiar with. But it’s worth a bit of effort.”
Amigo’s findings are based on research conducted by Onepoll in November 2017, weighted to nationally representative criteria across 2,000 UK adults. Calculation is based on Office for National Statistics data that there were 51.7 million adults in the UK in 2016, of which 41 percent have checked their credit score (23,657,000) and of those 42 percent (9,935,940) have found errors on their credit record.