A guide to finding out which debt collectors you owe
Sometimes we lose touch with creditors – if we move home, for example, or if we haven’t had any communication for a long period of time. If you’ve lost track of who you owe money to and the amount you need to pay, then it’s time to take a closer look at your finances.
It’s important you know exactly who you are repaying debts to and that the monthly amount is manageable. If you need to know how to find out what debt collectors you owe money to, we have some tips on where this information can be found.
Find all correspondence between you and your creditors
The easiest way to check what you owe is to go back through any letters you have received. Hopefully, you will have stored these somewhere safe and can take a look through what creditors have sent to you.
You’ll also be able to find the account number related to your debt, which should make things easier if you need to speak to your creditors.
We recommend finding the most recent letter or email and then getting in touch with your creditors directly to confirm how much you initially owed when the credit agreement was set up and how much of this remains – plus any interest charges.
If you’ve moved house and haven’t let your creditors know, it may be worth contacting the new owner, occupier or your landlord/letting agency to see if any mail has been delivered to the property since you left, which they have kept.
Get a copy of your credit report
If you can’t find any recent letters, then a copy of your credit report should include details of all your creditors. Your credit report holds all the important information regarding your finances, including any credit products you have, who these are provided by and how much you owe on them.
Don’t worry if you feel you may struggle to obtain this information for yourself – you can assign a third party to request your credit report for you. A passkey will then be sent to you directly and this can be used by them to access the report.
What is listed on your credit report?
Your credit report features detailed, personal information about you. You have to add in your address history and personal details yourself – the credit reference agency then creates your report from information about you from its database of lenders.
Here is a breakdown of what you will find listed on your report:
- Your full name.
- Your date of birth.
- Your current address.
- Six years of recent address history.
- Your electoral roll details.
- If you are financially linked to anyone – such as a spouse with a mortgage or relative with a bank loan.
- Information about any debts that you owe; such as overdrafts, payday loans, personal loans, credit cards, mortgages and secured loans, some water and utility bills, catalogues, mobile phone contracts and hire purchase agreements.
- Some debt solutions you’ve taken on will also be listed, including debt settlements, IVAs, DROs and bankruptcy. These stay on your credit report for six years from the date they were granted.
- There will also be marks if you have any late payments, defaults or CCJs against your debts – creditors use different codes to flag any missed or late payments. We have a guide here that breaks this down further.
You can use all this information to work out what you owe, to whom and if there are any issues that looking into further – such as a CCJ and/or default against your report.
If you discovered any debts you don’t believe you owe, then these can then be disputed. We have a guide on how to dispute debts here, which can help with this.
Where to get your credit report from – The main credit reference agencies
There are three main credit reference agencies you can use – Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. You don’t need to sign up for a monthly subscription to view your credit report, instead, you can pay £2 to receive a paper copy with everything broken down. Alternatively, Callcredit’s service Noddle can provide this information for free.
How to view your credit report for free
You can view your credit report without paying a fee. Here are your options:
- Callcredit offers a service called Noddle that offers a free for life credit report service.
- The Clearscore service is actually run by Equifax and allows you to view your report without paying a penny.
- Experian’s Credit Matcher service is free but doesn’t give you a full overview of your report.
Once you have all of this information, take some time to comb through and check the amounts owed and who the debt should be paid to. Keep a note of this for the future and look into how you can tackle these debts now that you know exactly what you need to pay.
Check for CCJs on your credit report
If you think you have a CCJ, this should be listed on your credit report for you to view and you can see which credit account it has been assigned to.
Alternatively, you can use the Trust Online database to search for your name. There is a fee to pay to obtain this information but if you are struggling to find details regarding a CCJ you believe you need to pay then this is the easiest way. The register will tell you the date the judgment was made, which court issued it and how much you owe.
You can also check that the lender has updated the information, if you have paid the debt and that if you have moved home no further judgments have been sent to your old address.
Double check your bank statements
Your bank statements will provide a list of where your money is being paid to each month.
If there are any organisations on there you don’t recognise, search online for them – sometimes creditors work under an umbrella organisation name instead of their brand.
What if I still can’t find any information on who I owe money to?
Sometimes, if a debt is more than six years old, information about it will have been removed from your credit report. The tips above should help you find out how much you owe and to who – but if not, it’s a good idea to seek further advice.
It’s worth noting that there are limitation periods when it comes to how long creditors can wait before chasing for debts. On unsecured debts, the limitation period is usually six years, which means after this time the debt is considered statute-barred.
This means a creditor cannot chase you for payment if they have not made contact or notified you of what you owe, so this is something to bear in mind. It doesn’t mean the debt is gone, simply that the lender has run out of time to take further action against you.
There are some debts that this does not apply to however including council tax, County Court Judgments and mortgages (which can have a limitation period of 12 years for the amount owed and six years for interest accrued).
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