I had a CCJ (County Court Judgement) against me

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Options for People with County Court Judgements (CCJs)

CCJs are one of the most frequent ways an adverse entry on your Credit File can reduce your chances of getting a credit card. So what can you do if you have one?

County Court Judgments (CCJs) are simply an order saying that you have a debt that you must repay and how much you must repay, usually monthly. That amount can be agreed between you and your creditor or a payment fixed by the court.

When you first get the letter from the County Court telling you that someone is making a claim against you, there is an option to pay the amount in full within 28 days. If you do this, then the judgment is cancelled and it will not appear on your Credit Record and there will be no adverse record at all.

If you can’t afford to repay the full amount within 28 days, you can ask your creditors to consider a repayment plan, where you repay the debt over time. Your creditors don’t have to accept your repayment plan, and can ask the court to enforce the County Court Judgement for the full value of the debt.

If you don’t respond to the letter from the County Court within 28 days, are unable to agree a repayment plan with your creditors or are unable to pay off the debt in full, then a County Court Judgement will be recorded on your Credit Record. Any lenders to whom you apply for credit in the future will be able to see the County Court Judgement when they view your Credit Record at the Credit Reference Agency.

If you have at least one CCJ and owe money less than £5,000 in total to more than one creditor the court can combine your debts and make an 'Administration Order' to make a single payment every month to be shared by all your creditors.

If you couldn’t afford to pay the debt in full at the time, but have since paid it off completely, apply to the County Court for something called a ‘Certificate of Satisfaction’ for which you have to pay a court fee. The debt will then be marked as ‘Satisfied’ on your credit file but will remain there for six calendar years from the date of the original judgment order. You can contact the Credit Reference Agencies six years after the original date of the CCJ and ask them to remove the satisfied CCJ entries from your credit records.

CCJs are not good to have, but if you have paid them off and they are ‘Satisfied’ that looks much better than having amounts unpaid and outstanding. For information on how you can access your Credit Record, read ‘Checking Your Credit Record’. If you don’t have email or access to a computer, you can write to the Credit Reference Agencies which must reply to you in seven working days. It’s worth periodically checking your own Credit Record to make sure that the information concerning CCJs is accurate and up to date.

For many lenders the significance of a CCJ (even if it is satisfied) is that it suggests you’ve had pretty severe problems in the past with managing your debt and borrowing. Getting control of your finances will help you avoid these issues in the future.

If you have a CCJ on your Credit Record, there may not be much point in approaching ‘Regular’ credit card providers as they will almost certainly turn you down (and that credit search will go down on your Credit Record). Instead, approach some of the companies that specialise in the provision of ‘Bad Credit History’ Credit Cards or those who offer to help you ‘Rebuild Your Credit History’. These providers will still carry out a credit check, but they tend to take an individual’s circumstances into account and are willing to consider people with a poor Credit Record, especially if any CCJs you have are recorded as ‘Satisfied’.

Nothing is guaranteed with these ‘Bad Credit History’ credit card providers. If it’s six or more months since the original County Court Judgement order was made and your credit history has been satisfactory since then, it’s possible that they may be able to help. If it’s less than six months from the date the original County Court Judgement order was made, there’s not much chance of a successful application.

Although interest rates on these ‘Bad Credit History’ credit cards are higher than usual and credit limits tend to be lower, approaching these specialist lenders is a far better option than risking rejection from mainstream credit card providers. These cards can also help you to build your credit rating back up over time by demonstrating that you can successfully manage credit.

Next Steps

  1. Check your Credit Record
  2. If there is any inaccurate information on your Credit Record, make sure that it is corrected as soon as possible
  3. Wait at least 6 months after your CCJ was issued before applying for a credit card
  4. Approach a credit card provider who specialises in helping people who have previously been turned down for credit
  5. Pay all your bills and make your credit repayments on time

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