YOUR credit score can have a huge impact on you getting loans, credit cards or mortgages – so what if yours is damaged by a family member borrowing money in your name?
It comes as a Reddit user was left anxious after her partner’s mum got into £1,500 of debt in a credit card account under his name.
She said they were looking to buy their first home so her tried partner to get a credit card to build up his credit score but kept getting rejected.
The couple then discovered his credit score was just 175 out of 999 on Experian’s scale, which means it’s very poor.
The posted claimed: “Turns out, a few years ago his mum asked for his permission to set up an account with Ace/Studio in his name to make purchases for the family which she would pay for with the intention of building up his score.
“Obviously it all went sideways and payments started to get behind and build up, leading to his low credit score.”
She said she didn’t want to cause any family problems and asked what the best way would be to rebuild her partner’s credit score.
We spoke to James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian and he explained what a person’s rights are in this situation.
“If someone takes out credit in your name, whether they are known to you or not, it is technically identity fraud and could land them in trouble – certainly if reported to the police,” he said.
The first step to remove the debt on your credit report is to let the card provider know of about the situation.
If the card provider agrees to move the debt from your name to that of the person who took on the credit, you should be able to restore you score.
James said: “If your parents are happy to take ownership of the debt then the provider should be able to deal with them directly.
“If the card provider accepts that the reader is not responsible for the debt, all record of it should be removed from the reader’s credit report and their credit score fully restored as soon as the information is updated.”
However, if the debt isn’t removed from your name, even if it is paid off, the information will stay on your credit report for six years.
This means even if the debt cleared, it could still harm your credit score as you’ll have a mark due to missed payments.
If your parents borrowed the money under a joint account with you, then you could ask your credit rating company about financial disassociation to reduce the impact on your credit score.
This means you will no longer be financially associated with someone you once shared accounts with.
One common use of this is when relationships break down and couples are looking to separate their money.
While everyone has an individual credit score – it can be affected by others if you are joined financial through certain products such as a joint account or mortgage.
A spokesperson for credit agency TransUnion said: “Someone else’s credit history can only affect your credit score if you previously made a financial connection by having a joint agreement.
“If you had a financial association with someone but no longer share any joint accounts or financial connections, you can formally disassociate yourself, so their financial behavior cannot impact yours.”
How to improve your credit score?
Pay your bills on time: Any late payments will be recorded on your credit report. This will push your score down and damage your creditworthiness.
You can avoid late payments by setting up regular direct debits to pay your bills.
Get on the electoral roll: Your credit report isn’t just used to show how good you are at managing your money, it also helps proves who you are.
Register to vote helps lenders verify your name and address, reduces the risk of fraud and makes it easier to get credit.
Cancel unused cards: Lenders will check your credit report to see how much debt you have such as card balances. Too much may make a lender worry about your ability to repay.
Close any old credit or store cards as this reduces how much debt you are managing, while settling debts can also boost your score.
Credit building cards: It can be hard to build your score back up once you are in bad credit. But a poor score can also make it harder to access the best deals.
You can start rebuilding your score and show you area reliable borrower with a credit builder credit card.
We round up nine ways to improve your credit score, including registering to vote and credit builder cards.
Meanwhile, here’s how you can get a mortgage if you’ve got a poor credit score.
Plus, these are the credit reference agencies that include Buy Now, Pay Later on your record and we explain how it affects you.
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