If you miss a payment such as for a credit card you will get a default mark on your credit history and it can take up to six years to be removed. However it may be possible to ask for it to be removed. Here we explain how default marks occur and what you can do to get them removed early.
Default marks last six years
If you miss a payment on anything you owe, such as a credit card, loan, energy bill or phone contract, the lender can issue a default which will appear on your credit score.
All lenders have different rules around when they issue defaults, and you might get one after missing a single payment, or if you’ve been late paying for a few months.
The mark stays on your credit file for six years and you will be able to see it when you check your credit score.
How will a default affect my ability to apply for credit?
If you have a default notice on your credit score, this will be visible to other lenders. When you apply for credit lenders will check your credit history to see if you will be able to repay the credit, and if you have a default on there this means they will be less likely to lend to you.
This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to apply for any credit, but the interest rates available to you will be less generous than for someone with a good credit score. You may also only be able to take out products specifically designed for those with a poor credit score.
Can I ask for a default mark to be removed?
A default mark can only be removed from your credit score by the lender.
If you check your credit score and find a default mark which you think is incorrect, you need to contact the credit agency and ask for it to be removed.
Contact the credit agency and tell it why the mark is incorrect and how it needs to be changed. The agency will then contact the lender and ask it to look at the mark and correct it if needed.
Once the lender has responded, you’ll hear back either directly from it or from the credit agency. During this process a note will be made alongside the default to tell other lenders it is being looked into.
If the lender agrees the mark is incorrect, it will be removed, if not you can escalate the complaint - directly to the lender. If it still refuses to budge after eight weeks, you can go to the Financial Ombudsman.
There are other ways to reduce the effect of a default such as by paying off a debt early and there are a number of other ways in which you can boost your credit score.
How to boost your credit score
If you haven’t already, make sure all the details your credit score are correct and names and addresses are updated.
Making sure you’re registered on the electoral roll will also help, along with continuing to make all future repayments on time.
Using a credit rebuilder product can help you improve your score, avoiding taking cash out on credit cards and applying for paying will also help.