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Legislation & Litigation

Equifax welcomes new help for financially vulnerable

By CreditMan Friday, January 16, 2015

Equifax, the online credit information provider, has welcomed the government’s new initiative to help those facing financial difficulties. The Insolvency Service announced yesterday (15th January 2015) that the amount of debt covered by Debt Relief Orders (DRO) will increase to £20,000 and the minimum level of debt required before someone owed money can force a person into bankruptcy is increasing from £750 to £5,000.

“We have long recognised that the financially vulnerable need as much help as possible when they are finding it hard to make ends meet”, commented Laura Barrett, Equifax Consumer Affairs. “And for those individuals facing real financial hardship, these new initiatives will give them vital support. It’s important that consumers seek free debt advice as soon as they find themselves experiencing financial difficulty as well as alerting creditors so that a mutually agreeable approach can be found.

“We also believe it’s important for those struggling with debts to understand how this will look on their credit report. Often consumers facing serious debt problems have difficulty in understanding the full extent of the credit agreements to which they are committed. Equifax therefore provides free access to credit files for these consumers, via the not-for-profit debt advice organisations.”

Equifax has been working with the leading debt advice organisations - including Citizens Advice, Consumer Credit Counselling Service and National Debtline – for the last six years, to provide clients who are most seriously in debt with free access to their statutory credit report. The client must request their credit file from Equifax, which they can do using a request form and a supporting letter provided to them by their local not-for-profit debt advice organisation. Once they receive their file, it can help inform their discussions with that organisation and take an important step in trying to resolve their debt problems.

“The assistance provided by our Credit File Advice Centre, which includes a team of experienced agents who have first-hand knowledge of many of the issues affecting an individual’s credit file, also plays a key role in helping consumers to understand the content of their credit file and deal with any queries they might have regarding the information”, added Laura Barrett.

The free credit file service offered by Equifax through the not-for-profit debt advice organisations provides consumers with their statutory credit report. This will be sent in the post within 7 days of the request. The advice and information provided free on the Equifax website can also be valuable in helping those who have taken on too much credit or whose circumstances have changed, putting them under increased financial pressure.