Finding yourself in debt can be quite stressful but not knowing what your debts are and who you owe them to can be downright overwhelming.
Finding the details of your debts can be a long-winded process but if you take it step-by-step, you can find all the information you need fairly quickly.
In this post, I’ll be looking at how you should look for the debts you owe and how you can effectively track down your creditors to contact them.
Finding Debt Information
If you’ve recently changed your contact details or moved to a different location, there might be a chance that your creditors are having trouble contacting you.
In such cases, it’s important to be aware of the debts you have. This is why you should take action in order to find about the debts you may have forgotten about or may not know about.
Having complete information regarding your debts is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it’s important to be in constant communication with your creditors. If you don’t keep in touch with your creditors, they’re going to seek legal action against you which would have much more dire consequences. Of course, you can’t keep in touch with your creditors if you’re not aware of your debt to them in the first place.
Secondly, having a complete picture of your financial affairs is important because it will help you make an informed decision about how to tackle your debt.
The very first thing you should do when researching information about your debts is to go through your credit record.
Checking your Credit File
Your credit file (also known as your credit report) is a record of your financial dealings over the last six years. It’s used to calculate your credit rating.
Any debts or payments you may have made over the last six years will be logged in your credit file. It also has details about your bank accounts, loans, credit cards and any other forms of credit that you may have opted for. It also contains information regarding your bills such as utilities, insurance, etc.
Your credit file is compiled and provided to you by credit reference agencies. There are currently three credit reference agencies operating in the UK, namely:
In order to get a hold of your credit file, you can contact any of these agencies.
You can instantly get a soft copy of your credit file for free by going on the websites of any of these three agencies.
You can also request a paper copy of your credit file but of course, that will take longer and it costs £2.
Checking Emails, Documents and Letters
If you’ve gone through your credit report but still feel that you don’t have complete information about all of your debts, the next thing you should look at is your correspondence with your creditors.
This could be in the form of emails or letters. Going through these old letters and emails can help you get an idea of what debts you have and can also remind you about any debts which you may have forgotten about.
If you’ve recently moved and have stopped receiving updates from your creditors, you can try and find out whether they’ve been sending letters to your previous address. You can do this by contacting the new occupants or the landlord.
If you do indeed find letters from your creditors at your old address, you should leave a forwarding address for future letters and also inform your creditors as soon as possible.
If you remember who you owe money to but just don’t remember the details of the debt, it’s definitely worth a shot to contact the creditor directly.
Please note that if you explain to your creditor that you’re actively seeking to take care of your debt, they will give you breathing space to get your financial affairs in order. Most of the time, they’ll give you up to 30 days.
Sometimes, your debts are passed onto debt collection agencies. These agencies buy the debt from the original creditor and take ownership of it. If this has happened, you can still contact the original creditor in order to get information about who the debt now belongs to and what the amount owed is.
Checking Bank Account Statements
Since most debt repayments are done through your bank account via Direct Debit or by using your debit card, checking your bank statements is definitely a step worth taking to find out more about your debts.
If you use online banking, you should be able to find a record of these. You can also ask your bank for help. Although, depending on the bank, they might charge you for copies of older bank account statements.
If you’ve had a County Court Judgment (CCJ) in the past, this will most likely appear in your credit file.
If you’ve had a County Court Judgment but it hasn’t appeared in your records, you could try checking out the public register that is maintained by the Registry Trust at Trust Online. You will be charged a £6 fee for checking it.
Finding Other Priority Debts
You may not be able to find information about other types of debts which you may owe to government agencies or departments.
In order to gather information about these dates, you may have to contact these departments one by one directly.
Finding information about your debts can definitely be an arduous process but it’s something you definitely can’t ignore.
Make sure to be thorough with your search and you’ll find details about the debts you owe in no time.