It might not be a fun task, but sorting through your finances every so often is essential.
But alongside checking your regular outgoings, ensure you don’t have any old debts lurking in your financial history.
It’s surprisingly easy to forget about a small sum owed on a credit card, say, or old catalogue bills that have never been paid. However, you risk being refused credit in the future by damaging your financial record if you fail to tackle any unpaid debts.
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Here are some steps to take to keep your finances squeaky clean.
Finding old bills
Check all the accounts you can think of – making a list to try and jog your memory of any that may have been forgotten over time.
Perhaps you subscribed to a store card, or catalogue account that remains unused? Going through old bank statements may help you recall any debts you have had in the past, alongside sorting through old paperwork.
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Cancel unused credit cards
Do you have any credit cards that are currently unused? You may use another card now, finding you don’t benefit from an awards scheme attached to a previous card anymore.
Cancel these cards. Even if you don’t owe any money on your account, an unused card could potentially impact your financial record.
These cards also pose a fraud risk. While the account remains active, there’s the chance details could fall into the wrong hands.
Read our guide to cancelling credit cards
Check your credit report
Register with one of the credit rating agencies, such as Clearscore.com, Experian.co.uk or Equifax.co.uk.
You can get a copy of your credit file online, and check for any inaccuracies. This gives you access to what lenders are seeing about your financial history – and may flag any unpaid debts you are unaware of.
Financial providers partly base their decisions on your repayment history when deciding whether to lend you money.
More information on how to check your credit report
How to clear unpaid debt
If you find an unpaid debt listed on your file contact the company directly to deal with this.
Meanwhile, you can add a ‘notice of correction’ to your credit record.
This is a short statement explaining why the debt hasn’t been paid off. Perhaps you were ill, or moved house during this period.
An explanation may help rectify any damage to your history while you resolve this directly.
You can check your credit report now with our free, no obligation Experian trial*.
*A monthly fee of £14.99 applies after your 30-day trial – you can cancel at any time during your trial with no charge. New customers only.
For more tips and useful information, browse our money articles.
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