Dealing with your non-priority debts

Can I get credit again?

There is no such thing as a 'credit blacklist' but if you do not pay your debts, you may find it difficult to get credit in the future.

When you apply for credit, most companies will consult a credit reference agency. They keep records of all sheriff court decrees, bankruptcies, trust deeds and details about credit accounts. This information is kept on file for six years. It will show if you are behind with your payments. If you are in arrears or have a sheriff court decree, you may well be refused credit.

If you are refused credit, you have a right to ask if the finance company has used a credit reference agency. They must give you the agency's name and address.

The company should give you good reasons why they turned you down for credit. This includes telling you if they have used a credit-scoring system. To get a copy of your credit report, you need to contact the credit reference agencies and fill in an application form. There is a fee of £2. You can usually apply in writing, by phone or online.

The Information Commissioner's Office publishes a useful guide to credit reference agencies called Credit Explained.

Credit-repair companies

You may have heard of companies that offer to clear your credit record if you pay a fee. Be careful. Many credit-repair companies promise to remove decrees when they cannot legally be removed. Credit-repair companies must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Check if the company is authorised on the Financial Services Register before using their services. You can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service about something a credit-repair company has done. Contact us for advice.​