Make sure your credit file doesn't hold any unwelcome reminders
Valentine’s Day may be on the horizon but sadly the course of true love isn’t always smooth, as Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures* highlight. Almost half of divorces in 2012 occurred in the first 10 years of marriage and the average age of couples divorcing was early to mid-forties. And whilst 71% of divorces were for first marriages, 9% of couples divorcing had both been divorced before.
Splitting up usually involves dividing up property and assets. But what is sometimes forgotten is any joint financial agreements, especially if they have already been paid off. Laura Barrett, Consumer Affairs, Equifax is, therefore, highlighting the importance of taking stock of past financial agreements so that they don’t have a negative impact on future plans.
“If a couple has taken out a joint financial agreement, their credit information will be linked on each of their credit files”, explained Laura Barrett. “This financial association will remain on each of their credit files even after the joint account has been closed. Lenders look at all the financial commitments someone has had when new credit is applied for and a joint financial agreement means that a lender may look at both individuals’ credit history, even if they are no longer a couple.
“It is important, therefore, that a ‘notice of disassociation’ is recorded on the credit file of each individual if they no longer have any joint financial agreements. This can be done by writing to each of the credit reference agencies.
“We appreciate this may not be the most romantic message for Valentine’s Day, but it’s a practical one and will help ensure that there are no unexpected surprises when new credit applications are made in the future.”
Equifax recommends that anyone coming out of a relationship where joint financial agreements have been closed obtains a copy of their credit file before starting to make any new applications. The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-report. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.