Graham Hill’s Advice On Preparing For Credit Part 2

Sunday, 14. September 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.
A few years ago ‘Credit Repair’ services had a neat trick set out to defraud lenders. Having found a pile of adverse information on your credit file, that reduced your credit score and would therefore result in an instant decline from all prime lenders, they would set out to ‘repair’ your abysmal file. The process was simple, they would write to the credit reference agencies and dispute every piece of adverse on the file, whether it was a CCJ, default, arrears etc.
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As a result, as the information was being disputed, the credit reference agency would remove the adverse information from your file until the company who had placed the information on your file could respond with proof that what they were saying was correct. They Credit Reference Agency (CRA) would also have the Register of Judgements checked to see if the CCJ’s on the client’s file were genuine.
At the time all of this took over 2 weeks. So in the meantime the client’s credit score would shoot through the roof and he would go on a spending spree or even just apply for a car that he desperately needed but for which he had been declined for credit. That can no longer be done. These days if you are disputing anything that is recorded on your file you will need to contact the person filing the information and they must respond within a short space of time with proof that the information is correct.
If you feel the information is still inaccurate you can take it up with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and they act as arbitrator. CCJ’s are a matter of public record so it is either there or not. But this leads me to another strong piece of advice regarding CCJ’s – don’t be belligerent. If you have been to court and the judge has found against you don’t think – ‘Damn, he can wait for the money’ then wait till the bailiff is about to call before you pay it off or pay an agreed amount monthly when in fact you could afford to pay it immediately.
Provided you pay the judgement off within 1 month the judgement is removed from the register and should not show on your credit file. However, there are certain things you must do to protect your credit. If you pay the money into the court make sure you receive a satisfaction certificate then check your file to make sure that there is no mention of the CCJ. If the CCJ is recorded on your file apply to all CRA’s to have it removed with a copy of the satisfaction certificate.
If you pay the money direct to the person you owe, make sure that you receive a receipt, advise the court by sending them a copy of the receipt against which they should issue a satisfaction certificate and amend the register. Make sure that if this happens within the month the CCJ is removed from the register and there should be no mention on your credit file, if payment is made after the month is out you should send a receipt, received from the company you paid, to the court who should then issue a satisfaction certificate and note it on the public files.
This should trigger a note appearing on your credit file to say that the debt is satisfied, if it doesn’t show on your credit file, send a copy of the satisfaction certificate, issued by the court, to each of the CRA’s and they will check the register and amend your credit file. The same applies if you pay back the debt monthly, you need to make sure that the CCJ is marked as satisfied once all the money has been paid. The bad news is that the CCJ, even when satisfied, stays on your file for 6 years after the debt has been fully paid.
So even though the CCJ is satisfied, the fact is that you received one in the first place. So here’s the thing, because of the changes in consumer regulations it is important to keep your credit file squeeky clean. So do everything to get this sorted before it gets to court and avoid a CCJ. If you can’t pay a debt speak to the person you owe money to and come to an arrangement, it is easier than dealing with debt collectors. If you can’t come to an arrangement with the person you owe the money to and are contacted by debt collectors, again come to an arrangement rather than risk a CCJ by going to court, chances are you will still end up paying the same per month but by paying the person you owe the money to direct your credit score will not be affected by a CCJ.
Make sure that if a CCJ is issued it shows the correct amount and if satisfied you may still have to ask to have it removed from your file after 6 years of being on there. Another great piece of advice is always put up a Notice of Correction against a CCJ. Explain if it was a trade dispute or any special circumstances that may have caused it to be issued. As I mentioned in part 1 a CCJ affects your credit score and can result in an auto decline when you apply for credit. A notice of correction forces an underwriter to look at the file and see what you have said – it could help your case if you have a valid reason for the CCJ, if it was a trade debt not related to credit or if you are applying to have it set aside.
CCJ’s are an important item on your credit report and need to be managed. There are 1,910 consumer county court judgements issued every day so it’s not a small problem. Moving on, let’s talk about your bank statements before moving to the application in part 3. You will probably only be asked for last 3 months bank statements, the problem is they can be manipulated so you may be asked for a P60 which shows your declared income to the revenue. But that is rare so you need to make sure that your bank statements are as good as they can be.
If you have returned (bounced) items showing on the statement, that is a no no, your application will probably be declined. If you have an overdraft and you exceed it or if you don’t have an overdraft agreed and you go into unauthorised overdraft, don’t apply for finance until the last 3 months are clear. This isn’t deception it’s common sense. Having an overdraft and using it is not a bad thing, it shows that the people who know your account better than any, your bank, has allowed you an overdraft and effectively provided credit.
Years ago a credit repair company would suggest that for a 3 month period you should borrow money from a friend or relation and either drip feed it into your bank account to give the impression of higher earnings and a healthier bank balance, paying them back once your credit was approved. Or pay in a lump sum, borrowed from a friend or relation, prior to running off the 3 months statements (that won’t show as a loan on your credit file), which will show a healthy balance rather than an overdraft. It is a weakness in the way that we underwrite for credit.
In order to prepare make sure that you have last 3 months bank statements available. Most lenders will now accept statements produced on your computer if you use Internet Banking but you must make sure that the printable copies show your account details as well as your name and current address. Also make sure that if you scan and email copies you don’t miss any pages, they will check the numbers and request any missing pages or they may just assume that you have something adverse on the missing page and decline you.
You will also need proofs of address so make sure that you have at least two bills dated within the last 3 months. Scratching around at the last minute after the finance has been agreed for proofs of address may not only hold up delivery but also prevent you from receiving the finance. If you are totally paperless it would be wise to request hard copies of some recent bills if you cannot print them off yourself or you have thrown away bills after paying them.
Most lenders WON’T accept mobile phone bills, even though many consumers no longer have a traditional landline. Gas/Electricity/Water/Sewage/Landline Telephones are usually all OK but must be dated within 3 months. Some may accept a bank statement and a credit card statement, council tax bill and mortgage statement but only if dated within 3 months. You will definitely be asked so make sure that you are prepared. Your driving licence will also be asked for.
The most important thing to do is ensure that the address shown on the licence agrees with the latest address on your finance application. If it doesn’t it will cause many problems and not least of which it is illegal. The maximum fine for not having a current address on your driving licence increased this year from £1,000 to £4,000 with three points added to your penalty points. So before making your application make sure that the licence shows your current address and you have the paper part if you have a new style licence.
If you have lost your licence the lender may accept your passport as proof of ID. Again make sure that it isn’t out of date or they won’t accept it. Oh and one funder insists on having your original driving licence sent to them so make sure that your application doesn’t coincide with a holiday or trip during which you may require your licence to hire a car or as proof of ID. By Graham Hill
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