Missed bill payments ‘can impact on credit reports’

Delaying bill payments as a result of financial struggles following overspending at the end of 2007 could cost consumers dearly, it has been suggested.

Finance writer Karen Beavis, writing in an article on MoneyExpert.com, argued that consumers feeling the pinch after Christmas risk damaging their credit record as a result of missed bill payments.

She noted that those habitually missing bill payments could be turned down for credit in the future or only be offered loans and credit cards at a higher rate.

With missed payments reflected on a credit report for three years, potential lenders could view these as a sign of the consumer being in “financial hot water”, the article suggests.

And such “credit offences” remain on record for three years, Ms Beavis notes, while “more serious” issues such as bankruptcy or a county court judgement will remain listed for six years.

Her advice is for those who need debt help to take action and discuss their problems with their bank and to set up direct debits if they are concerned about forgetting to pay a bill.

Last month, price comparison and switching service uSwitch suggested that consumers could save as much as £325 on their energy bills by changing to a new provider.

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