How Long Does a CCJ Stay On Your Credit File?
County court judgments (CCJs) can stay on your credit file for years but they don’t have to be there forever. You may be able to get a CCJ removed from your credit history more quickly – here’s our guide to how to do it.
Having a county court judgment (CCJ) on your credit file can damage your credit score and make it difficult to get approved for new credit.
Luckily, they don’t stay on your credit file forever and there are ways to get them removed from your credit report sooner.
How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file?
CCJs stay on your credit file for six years and can harm your credit score, limiting your chances of being approved for new credit until they are removed.
Most lenders are reluctant to approve credit applications from customers with a CCJ because it suggests a greater risk that borrowers will be unable to repay them.
» MORE: What affects your credit score?
What is a CCJ?
A CCJ is a court order issued against borrowers who haven’t repaid their debts. Lenders may use CCJs to get money back from people who continue to miss payments.
CCJs are sent in the post and you will need to do one of the following if you receive one:
- Repay the full amount of money owed straight away.
- Ask to delay the repayment.
- Request to pay in instalments.
- Appeal against the CCJ.
- Claim against the creditor.
All CCJs are recorded on the Registry of Judgments, Orders and Fines, which can be accessed by the public for a fee. They are also noted on your credit report, which is visible to lenders that run a hard credit search when you apply for credit.
Other companies, including estate agents and even your employer, may check your credit report and will be able to see the CCJ too.
» MORE: What is a credit score?
Can a CCJ be removed from your credit report?
Having a CCJ may feel daunting but there are several ways to get one removed from your credit report:
A CCJ will be removed from your credit file if you repay the full amount owed within one calendar month of receiving the order.
Once paid, you can apply for a ‘certificate of cancellation’ from the county court centre that issued your judgment. You will need to complete an N443 application form and post it along with proof of payment.
There is a fee for the certificate but this may be reduced or waived for low-income households.
It could take up to four weeks for your CCJ to be removed from the register. Once it has been removed, each credit reference agency will be notified and the CCJ will be taken off of your credit report too.
If you pay off the full amount owed after a month, you can apply for a certificate of satisfaction. This updates the status of your CCJ on the public register and on your credit report to show that you have paid off the debt. The CCJ will still appear on the public register and in your credit report until the six years are up.
The CCJ is ‘set aside’
The court may decide to cancel or ‘set aside’ your CCJ if you have a good reason to dispute the payment order. You may request for a CCJ to be set aside because:
- The lender incorrectly calculated what you owe.
- You were unaware that an order was taken out.
- You repaid the debt before a CCJ was ordered.
CCJs are not recorded in the public register if they are set aside by the court. They also won’t appear on your credit file. You can apply for a CCJ to be set aside by completing an N244 form.
An insurance company is responsible
You may be able to remove a CCJ from your credit report if the debt is related to an insurance claim.
You will need to send a letter from the insurance company, or their solicitors, to the public register. The letter must include the following details:
- confirmation that the CCJ relates to an insurance claim
- case number
- judgment date
- how much is owed
The register will alert each credit reference agency once the letter is verified. They will then remove it from your credit report. Your CCJ will remain on the public register for six years unless the court sends a notification to remove it.
The CCJ is over six years old
A CCJ will be removed automatically from your credit report after six years, even if you haven’t paid off the debt.
It is really important to pay off your CCJ unless you are able to get the courts to set it aside because not doing so may impact on your finances.
What happens if you ignore a CCJ?
Ignoring a CCJ isn’t a good idea because it could lead to your lender taking more serious action against you.
A creditor may do one of the following things if you ignore a CCJ:
- Send High Court enforcement officers to your home.
- Arrange for the money you owe to be deducted from your wages.
- Have bailiffs visit your home.
So, whether you think you might struggle to repay the CCJ or would like to appeal, it is best to contact the court as soon as possible. It will give you the chance to dispute the CCJ and negotiate a more affordable payment plan, or cancel it altogether.
Can you get a mortgage, credit card or loan with a CCJ?
Having a CCJ on your credit report could make it more difficult to take out new credit but it’s not the end of the road.
There are financial products designed to help customers with bad credit or no credit history at all. We have compared some of the latest bad credit mortgages and bad credit loans to help you find a suitable deal if you need to work on your credit score.
Using a credit card for bad credit could help you rebuild your credit score and access more competitive deals in the future.
It is worth noting that lenders place less importance on CCJs as time goes by So, as long as you pay off your CCJ and keep up with repayments moving forward, your credit score will improve, along with your chances of being accepted for new financial products.
How to check your credit score
There are lots of ways to check your credit score. Equifax offers a 30-day free introductory trial for you to view your credit score and complete your credit history. After the promotion ends, you have to pay a monthly subscription.
Experian offers a free account that gives a monthly view of your credit score. However, you need to upgrade and pay a monthly subscription for a more detailed credit report or to check your score more frequently.
TransUnion lets customers access their credit score for free through a platform called Credit Karma.
In the UK, each credit reference agency must offer a free statutory credit report. A statutory credit report gives a basic snapshot of your financial history, which doesn’t include your credit score.
Your statutory credit report shows information about existing and past credit agreements, missed or default payments and electoral roll details.
How to improve your credit score
Trying to improve your credit score after getting a CCJ shows lenders that you are becoming a more reliable borrower, which could increase your success when applying for credit in the future.
You can boost your credit score by doing the following:
- Repaying on time: You can show lenders that you are a reliable borrower that can manage credit by keeping up with repayments.
- Using credit wisely: Keeping your credit utilisation low shows that you use credit responsibly and don’t rely on it too heavily.
- Registering to vote: Registering to vote helps lenders verify where you live which could boost your credit score.
Remember, your credit score won’t improve overnight and it may take a few months or more to see it bounce back.
The key thing is to focus on borrowing responsibly and building a good track record with credit. Over time your score should improve, boosting your chances of being approved for new financial products.
Image source: Getty Images
Brean is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet. She covers a range of financial topics and has written for consumer titles including Which?, Moneywise and The Motley Fool. Read more