Top five mistakes that damage your credit report

Holly Thomas / 20 April 2015 ( 01 November 2016 )

Having a good credit report is important as it can affect your ability to borrow money and get credit. Holly Thomas shares the top five mistakes that can affect or harm your credit report.



Keeping your credit history file squeaky clean is good practice for anyone who might need to borrow money in the future.

Whether you want a new mortgage, personal loan or a new mobile phone contract, it’s important to have a glowing credit report.

Get access to your credit report now with a free, no obligation 30-day trial*

Here are five things to avoid that can harm your credit report:

1. Multiple applications

Every time you apply for credit, it shows on your credit report. 

While it won’t spell out if you were rejected, multiple applications for credit cards, for example, could suggest your applications are unsuccessful and could look bad.

Even just two applications in a six month period could dent your credit score, making it even harder to qualify for a loan.

Find out why a new employer might check your credit report

2. Old accounts

You may wish to consider closing any credit card or store card accounts you no longer use because a new lender may wonder why you want another line of credit if you already have plenty open to you at the moment.

Make sure all old accounts are debt-free. An old unpaid catalogue account or mobile phone bill could cost you dear.

Want to improve your credit report? Read our tips. 

3. Bad organisation

If you don’t manage your accounts properly and miss payment dates for utilities or any other kind of debt repayment, it will be visible to other creditors and could impact future credit applications.

Missed or late payments could indicate that an individual is financially stretched or lacks responsibility in repaying debts, which means they are unlikely to view you as a decent candidate for further borrowing.

Read our guide to chasing bad payers

4. Failing to check your report

Millions of us have never seen our credit report. But this in itself is a mistake because it’s worth making sure that all the information held about you is correct.

Where information is wrong, you will need to contact the company that put the information on your report, explain the problem and ask for it to be corrected.

In circumstances where you have missed a payment through a genuine problem, you can contact the credit reference agency and ask them to attach a 'notice of correction' on your report. This will explain when payments were missed due to special circumstances, such as losing your job or family bereavement.

Find out how to check your credit report

5. Failing to separate finances

Joint finance with a partner will create a formal link between your credit reports, whether it’s a mortgage or finance on a new sofa. This means that if one of you applies for credit, the lender will be able to search the other’s credit report.

If you split up with or divorce a partner, make sure you write to tell the agencies to avoid their potentially bad debts affecting you in the future.

You will have to prove that you are no longer financially connected by providing evidence that you have been living apart for more than six months. 

If you were married, you must be divorced before you can remove the formal link. Any joint accounts must be settled and closed or they will still have an impact on your credit report.

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Top tip

For a monthly fee, credit reference agencies like Experian will allow you unlimited access to your credit report and will monitor it so that you are alerted  when there are certain changes to your credit report with them.

Have you checked your credit report recently? Get Experian's free 30-day credit report*.

Experian Credit Expert Get a free 30-day trial with Experian Credit Expert with this special offer.

*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.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.