Monday, 10 February 2014

Elizabeth Crampton from the Citizens Advice Bureau was tonights guest on West Herts Drivetime. The following topics were covered.

What are credit reference agencies?
Credit reference agencies give lenders a range of information about potential borrowers, which lenders use to make their decisions. The information shared may include information about your previous credit history. They hold certain information about most adults in the UK. This information is called your credit reference file or credit report.
The three main consumer credit reference agencies in the UK are Callcredit, Equifax and Experian.
How do I get my credit reference file?
You have the right to write to any of the credit reference agencies and ask for a copy of your credit reference file, which will cost you £2. Your letter should include:

your full name;
any other names you have used or been known by in the last six years eg your maiden name;
your full address including postcode;
any other addresses you have lived at in the last six years;
your date of birth; and
a cheque or postal order for £2 made payable to the credit reference agency.
You should keep a copy of your letter and you may want to send it by recorded delivery. Unless the agency needs more information, they have seven working days from receiving your letter to provide you with a copy of your file.

Sometimes the credit reference agencies need more information from you before they can send you your file. For example, they may need proof of your name and address from a utility bill or bank statement. This is important to make sure that no one else gets your file by mistake or to check that no one else has fraudulently applied for your credit reference file. The agencies do not have to send you your file until they get this information.
What should I do if my credit file is inaccurate?
If your credit file is inaccurate, you can raise your concerns with the credit reference agency. However, the problem may lie with the original lender or organisation that supplied the agencies with their information and you may need to contact them instead.
In most cases these issues should be speedily resolved, but in those cases where there is an obvious inaccuracy and it's not corrected, we may be able to help. Please note that it's not our role to decide on financial disputes.
Packaged bank accounts
Packaged bank accounts – sometimes called ”paid-for” accounts – usually charge a consumer a monthly or annual fee. These accounts can be called a lot of different names – gold, premium, upgraded, reward – but the thing they have in common is that they usually include a range of insurance and non-insurance benefits.
A typical account might include travel insurance and mobile phone insurance – as well as car breakdown cover, preferential rates on overdrafts or loans, use of airport lounges, and discounts on various products and services.
Consumers usually pay between £5 and £25 each month for an account.
Packaged accounts can be a good option for many people – saving them time and money. They can work well as long as people know what the benefits are, whether they can use them and what they have to pay for them.
Full details on these subjects and much more can be found the web site

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