If you’ve recently moved to a different residence or just simply have not heard from your creditors in a while, it’s a good idea to look up what debts you have and who you owe them to.
Your debt is something that should definitely not be ignored.
In fact, it’s something you should always stay on top of because if you don’t, it can catch you off-guard.
Having a good idea of what debts you have along with other financial information can give you a very clear overview of your situation and thus, can give you insight into how you can begin tackling your debt problem.
When you change residence or change contact information, it’s quite likely that you’ll lose touch with your creditors.
This can sometimes mean that you lose track of the debts you have.
If you’re unsure about how you can find out what debts you owe and to which debt collectors, I’ve listed down some of the ways through which you can find this information.
Collect All Correspondence Between You, Your Creditors and Any Debt Collection Agencies They may have Hired
The most obvious and easiest way to recall what debts you owe is to go back and collect all information you may have by going through letters, emails, voice notes, etc. that may have been sent between you, your creditors and any debt collectors that they hired.
This is why it’s a good idea to store the letters that are sent to you in regards to your debt. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the letters that you send to your creditors and debt collectors as well.
You can look up the latest exchange that occurred between you and your creditors in order to get an estimate of how much you owed initially and how much of that you have paid off. You will most likely be able to find the account number in relation to your debt as well. This will make things much easier for you.
Once you have looked up the latest exchange between you and your creditors, you should contact them to confirm how much you owe them now and also how much was initially agreed upon.
I also recommend that you inquire about any interest or other additional charges that may have been added on since you were last in contact with your creditor.
It’s also worth noting that if you have recently moved to a different house and have not let your creditors know, they may still be sending letters to your old address.
It’s definitely worth it to contact the new owner or occupant of your old residence to ask them whether they’ve received any letters that have been addressed to you.
Get a Copy of Your Credit File
Collecting all correspondence between you and your creditor can definitely help you get an idea of the situation you’re in. After that, it’s a very good idea to get a copy of your credit report. Credit reports contain all sorts of useful financial information that can help you analyse how much debt you’re in.
A credit report includes information about your debts as well as other information about you that is provided by people who lent you money. It also contains information about your bank accounts, loans, any credit card as well as any credit products that you have. In addition to that, it also has information about who these credit products were provided by as well as how much you owe on them.
The main purpose of credit reporting is to calculate your credit score but it’s also a great way to look up one’s financial history as well.
What Information is Listed on My Credit Report?
All of the personal information in your credit report is provided by you. After that, all of your financial dealings and your conduct during those financial dealings is reported by lenders that you loan money from. Here’s what you will find when you look up your credit report:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your current address
- Your address history for the last six years
- Your electoral roll details
- Information about whether or not you are financially linked to anyone. An example of this would be your spouse with whom you share a mortgage or a friend or relative with whom you share a bank loan, etc.
- Information about any debts that you have. It contains information about all types of debt such as payday loans, personal loans, credit card debt, utility bills, mortgages and secured loans, some water and catalogues, overdrafts, mobile phone contracts and hire-purchase agreements.
- If you have taken on any debt solutions in the past, they will show up on your credit report as well. These include procedures such as IVAs, DROs, etc. They typically stay in your credit report for six years after the day they were initiated.
- If you have failed to make scheduled payments in the past or have a default notice or a CCJ against your debts, these will also show up on your credit report. These severely negatively impact your credit score. These are normally marked in your credit report by your original creditor. Different creditors have different ways of flagging when you missed a payment or were late in paying.
As you can probably tell, your credit file is a great resource to find out how much money you owe and who you owe that money to. If you feel that it contains information about debts that you don’t owe such as a debt related to your credit cards, then you can dispute that debt as well.
Not only this but it also has information about any issues that have occurred regarding your debts such as a CCJ or a default notice.
How do I Get my Credit Report?
There are three main credit reference agencies that you can get in touch with to get a hold of your credit file. Namely, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly known as CallCredit). You can pay £2 to receive a paper copy that has all of your financial information broken down. Alternatively, if you want to get a copy of it for free, you have a few options:
- TransUnion offers a service called Noddle that provides a free credit reporting service for life.
- Equifax runs a service called ClearScore which allows you to view your report for free.
- Experian has a service called Credit Matcher. However, you should keep in mind that this does not give you a full overview of your credit report.
After you have all this information, it’s a good idea to write it down in an intuitive way that you can understand. This will help figure out the amount owed as well as who you owe money to. Once you have all that figured out, you can begin planning how you’re going to pay off your debts.
Check Your Bank Statements
Your bank statements can tell you about where your money is being paid to each month. You should go over it to ensure the organizations you are paying are indeed organizations that you owe money to.
If you see an organization that you don’t recognize, make a call to them. Sometimes your original creditor may have hired debt collection agencies to collect the money for them. This could be why you don’t recognize the organization. Also, ensure that the money that is being paid to them is in accordance with the amount owed.
I Still Can’t Find Information About the Money I Owe, What Should I Do?
If you still can’t find information about your debts then there’s a chance that they are more than six years old. When a debt becomes older than six years, it’s removed from your credit file. This could be a reason why you were not able to find details about it in your credit file.
Keep in mind that there are limitations in place that make many types of debt unenforceable after six years. There do, however, also exist certain types of debt that CAN be enforced even after a six-year period such as council tax debt, County Court Judgments, etc.
Bear in mind that this limitation only applies if your credit or the debt collection agency that they have hired have not contacted you in over 6 years. If you have acknowledged your debt in any form to the debt collection agency or made any payments towards them, then this period would be restarted.
You must also keep in mind that this does not mean that your debt has been written off. It simply means that your creditor (or the debt collection agency that they hired) has run out of time to pursue you for that debt.
It can be a difficult undertaking to try and find out what debt collection agency (or agencies) you owe. Being in debt is a very distressing situation and it’s understandable if you have been unable to keep track of your debts in the past.
However, with the steps and procedures I’ve listed today, I hope that I’ve made this process a little easier for you.
You may find it overwhelming when you first start doing it but as you follow the steps, things will start to fall into place. Before you know it, you will find the last creditor you have and begin your process of paying them off so you can stride towards financial freedom.