/ Money

Credit reference agencies, why’s my credit report so out of date?

I’m angry at the failure of Equifax and Callcredit to update my credit report in good time. Now they’re at risk of damaging my reputation, my pride and my wallet. Are you frustrated with having to leap over credit hurdles?

I moved house in October 2011 and registered to vote immediately. I also transferred all of my bank and credit card accounts over to the new address. Full credit to the banks – the change of address went without a hitch.

In February this year, Harrow Council finally added me to the public electoral register, so I thought my credit file would once again look like normal. No such luck.

Leaping over the credit hurdles

As background research for a Which? Money magazine feature, on 10 February I accessed my credit reports online. Equifax and Callcredit say I’m not registered to vote.

In fact, Equifax went even further: initially its system couldn’t even find my address. It could find the flats on either side, but not mine. I emailed Equifax and it said the list is based on Royal Mail data. Luckily my postman has no such problems.

When Equifax added my address to its system and I finally got hold of my online credit file, I discovered that the company had no accounts associated with my current address, even though I had moved four months earlier.

Experian knew I was registered to vote at my new address, so why didn’t Equifax or Callcredit? Experian also knew that my bank account and credit cards had been transferred over to my new address. So why didn’t Equifax?

Things got worse. I paid for my one-off credit score with each agency and was shocked. Because of the missing data on my credit reports, my credit scores had been decimated.

Callcredit gave me a score of 566. And Equifax rated me as ‘poor’, with a score of just 366, as I have no credit accounts associated with my address. In complete contrast, Experian has all of my up-to-date data and tells me I have a credit score of 963. That’s excellent and roughly what I expected.

Bad credit report lost me my contract

Why does all of this matter? Well, in mid-February I ordered a new mobile phone (the Samsung Galaxy SII, since you asked) on contract with Orange, but my order was rejected as I failed the credit check. Embarrassed, I felt like a teenager with no previous credit, not a 38-year-old professional with a good financial track record.

It could have been worse. If I’d been applying for a mortgage or was in need of a new credit card, these just wouldn’t have gone through. And those failed Orange applications will probably appear on my credit file, further damaging my credit score.

If Equifax and Callcredit can’t update their systems in good time, why should I trust them with my personal data? And if they can’t keep my data up-to-date, they shouldn’t be allowed to have it in the first place.

Susan E says:
28 September 2014

Very interesting. My Council (Wandworth) has just told me that they require documentary evidence that I exist – after 49 years as a voter, 38 of them in Wandsworth. They say they couldn’t find any Governmental evidence. So what is the information we put on our tax returns, DWP statements, wedding certificates, Passport applications?

The government Voting website says:
Letters will be sent from EROs in England and Wales during July and August. This will inform the public of the changes to the electoral system brought in under IER, how these changes affect them, and whether they need to do anything. The majority of people (around 80%) who are registered to vote at the moment will transfer automatically to the new system. Some people will need to provide extra information – their National Insurance number and date of birth – and their letter will tell them how to do this.

I think some people have not read lines 3 and 4 of this information sheet.

What a shambles.

tree says:
14 April 2015

this has been asked of me and now i have had a further letter stating that i do not match DWP and so have to provide further evidence i.e. passport or driving licence i have not even moved house but i have been told by the council that it is because i got married !!!! but that was over 10 years ago. I am 50 and have worked since I was 16 so don’t know what they are getting wrong and who knows if i will get a pension.

My Experience is somewhat similar,

I moved house in June and update my electoral with my council. They confirm that all was provided Experian on the 3rd September. Therefore should be surely updated sooner rather than later.
I have now found a house to buy and my lender uses Experian like 70% of UK businesses. Albeit the lender are refusing to progress the application as I am not registered on the electoral roll. All this despite offering a letter from the council confirming my registration.

1. Experian is advising me this could take up to 8 weeks
2. Mortgage lender is declining the decision on principle
3. My seller might put the house back on the market
4. I would lose the mortgage interest that is being offered to me
All this with no wrong doing whatsoever.

This situation is unacceptable, why I am being penalised for some administrative burden.

Martin Parker says:
16 January 2015

I too have just realised the property that I have been living in and registered at for the last 14 months isn’t on my report. My current address according to equifax is 3 yrs 6 months out of date!!

I have rang them to rectify this but doesn’t seem to have updated on my file yet?

grant says:
28 January 2016

I have noticed a huge diference between my Experian and Equifax reports.

Experian I have an excellent score with a detailed report and Equifax I only have a fair score. Equifax are missing most of my information.

I was measured on Equifax with a loan agreement and denied (reason for me investigating). Seems like there’s absolutely nothing that I can do about it, other than wait several months for them to get their admin together.

I’ve had similar problems. Trying to get a mortgage for a new property once divorced I discovered that Experian could not find me on the electoral roll, despite their having this data previously and me not moving in 11 years. Equifax had it with the correct address – Experian finally registered something with a very strange variant of my address saying they couldn’t find the one I gave – which Equifax had. How can two agencies be seeing different addresses? But my main issue is the length of time it takes for a payment to my Halifax card to show in my report. My card balance was £5212 after buying my son a laptop for uni in July – about 60% of my available credit. As using more than 50% lowers your rating I paid £5000 off my card on 4th August – it’s now the 14th September and 8 phone calls to Experian and Halifax later exactly the same figure is still showing on both Experian and Equifax. Halifax said three contradictory things – that updated balances are sent out automatically at the end of the month; that they couldn’t send updated info manually; and that an updated balance was sent out on the 12th Sept as no update went at the end of the month. But two days after this info was sent the balance is still 5 weeks out of date… What is the point of credit reports if they are so inaccurate?

emily says:
19 June 2017

Hi hoping someone can help,
My bank account details have been registered at my mums address for the last 6/7 years purely for ease but I am registered at living at a different addresses as I have been renting.
Now when I request a credit score in hope for a mortgage they cant find my credit score because the addresses are different, what can I do ?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Donna Gardner says:
12 October 2017

It seems to be the system for checking credit is unfit for purpose. The credit agencies consistently hold out of date information. How can this be useful for either borrowers or lenders? In the days of electronic bank transfers it takes 2 months to update a credit record? Ridiculous! The system is a sham!

Experian et al = Destroyers of lives.

We are in the position of looking for house after finding a buyer for ours after 12 months of it being on the market. We thought it would be a simple case of getting a mortgage in principal putting in an offer on the house we liked and then start the ball rolling of selling and buying at the same time. Nope, because my wife had some unexpected bills last year and maxed out on two credit cards all banks have rejected our join mortgage application even though are asking for only 70% of the maximum the banks income multiplier calculator says we can borrow. The credit cards were settled and closed last month but all credit agency files still show the credit cards as the negative influence and still open. We now run the risk for loosing the sale over this nonsense. All for a £5K balance on two credit cards.

Both of my credit reports are so out of date with missing information. What I don’t understand is that if a company processes or holds any data about you it has to be accurate. Plainly neither of these companies services are fit for purpose. Equifax is so out of date – in the last 10 years I have moved address a few times (renting) and so always make sure to register on the electoral roll as soon as I do. Equifax still has my old address a year later, there is no easy way to update them with a new address. Experian are not much better. To think that important life changing decisions are made using this information is a complete joke.