Gambling and managing finances
There are many individuals for whom placing a bet is fun and entertaining, something they do occasionally. They may place a yearly bet on the Grand National, participate in the workplace sweepstake when there is a World Cup on, or occasionally buy a Lotto ticket. For others gambling is more of a hobby, something they enjoy and do regularly. Yet for others, gambling can become something they cannot easily control, they may find they are unable to watch and enjoy sport without placing a bet. In some cases they may end up placing increasingly larger bets to try and make up for their gambling losses. Sometimes individuals may take out additional credit to fund their gambling problem or to meet bills that they can’t pay. The BeGambleAware website highlights some of the signs that could indicate that someone has a gambling problem.
How can Equifax help me?
When you make an application for new credit the company is likely to want to see your credit information from one or all of the UK CRAs (credit reference agencies). They will then use this information alongside other information you provide on the application form to make a decision whether to approve your credit application. If you place a NOC (Notice of Correction) on your credit information with the CRAs, the lenders should review this before they make a decision on whether to extend additional credit to you. You can use a NOC to ask lenders not to lend you additional credit to help you limit any existing gambling debts.
What is a Notice of Correction?
A Notice of Correction (NOC) is a piece of text up to 200 words that you can add to your credit report to explain a variety of personal circumstances and give lenders additional information to help them make a lending decision when they review your credit application. This statement is written in your own words; however, it must be factually correct, suitable for publication and cannot damage the reputation of a company or an individual. For example, you might want to explain a period of bad debt that was due to circumstances such as a relationship break-up, unemployment, ill health or mental health issues.
How do lenders use a Notice of Correction?
If you have a NOC associated with your Equifax Credit Report, whenever you apply for new credit the lender should refer to the Notice of Correction on your credit file before they make a decision on your credit application. This will mean that any new credit applications will be handled manually by the bank or credit provider, which might slow down the application process.
If you have gambling issues and are prone to overspending, this may be a way to help manage your financial situation and prevent you from over committing yourself to new debt. Whilst we cannot guarantee how a lender will respond to your NOC, you will know that they should have reviewed this NOC as part of their decision making process when you make a credit application to them.
Who can see the Notice of Correction on my credit file?
Providers of credit
If you are setting up a new account where a credit check is part of the process then these companies will be able to see your NOC. This isn’t just financial services companies like banks & building societies, but it is also services companies like telecommunications or utilities where you are using a service that they will expect payment for at a later date.
Some employers may also check your credit report as part of the standard background-checking processes, for example; when you apply for a new job with them or when they do their regular checks on employees. In most cases this is a check on public record information e.g. County Court Judgements (CCJs) or bankruptcy rulings by the courts. Any new employer will have to ask for your permission to access your credit information before they do so.
Do I have to mention gambling in the NOC?
A Notice of Correction is a piece of text up to 200 words that you can add to your credit report to explain a variety of personal circumstances in your own words. You don’t have to mention gambling in the NOC, but it is worth bearing in mind that other organisations may also have access to your credit information, so you may wish to use wording to make your wishes clear without directly mentioning gambling e.g.:
|Example 1:||“I do not want any lender to provide me with credit, loans or money if I apply for credit”.|
|Example 2:||“If I apply for credit, please contact me to discuss the application prior to approving the new credit, loan or money”.|
|Example 3:||“I do not want any lender to give me access to short-term, high-cost credit products. DO NOT provide me with this type of credit”.|
How quickly can I add, amend or remove a NOC?
You can contact us online, by phone or in writing to the address below:
Customer Service Centre
PO Box 10036
As we will need to verify your identity before making changes to your credit information we recommend you use our Online Helpline.
- Once you are logged in to the Online Helpline
- Select ‘Errors on my Credit Report’
- Then select ‘Notice of Correction’.
Once Equifax has been able to verify your identity we can add amend or remove a NOC within 28 days. Please note that a NOC will remain on your Equifax Credit Report until you request for it to be removed. Please be aware that the different CRAs may have different timelines to making changes to your NOC information or removing it from your credit information.
If I want to raise a NOC do I have to tell the other credit reference agencies?
As not all lenders use all 3 CRAs when making credit decisions it is advisable to make sure you raise a NOC with all the CRAs (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You can use the same text for your NOC for all of the agencies. If you want to add, amend or remove a NOC with Equifax it will take upto 28 days to process your request.
When do I remove the NOC?
A NOC is there to notify companies that you have additional information that you would like to be considered when you make an application for credit. If you get to a place where you are in control of your debts and gambling is no longer an issue for you, you can remove it then. The NOC will stay on your credit information until you ask us to remove it.
If you find yourself or a loved one in this situation there are several charities and debt management organisations below that can offer help and support, we have listed some below
- Citizens Advice: Free advice on where to go to help with issues resulting from gambling
- BeGambleAware: Have advisors available 24/7via phone or live chat to provide help or advice if you or a loved one has gambling problems.
- GamCare is a national charity that provides free information, advice and support to anyone affected by problem gambling with 24/7 advisor support
- Gamblers Anonymous is a support group, to find your nearest support group near you click here
- National Debtline: If you need help dealing with debt, this charity offers free, expert help and guidance. You can contact them for free on 0808 808 4000.
- StepChange (formerly Consumer Credit Counselling Service): If you are struggling, know you’re not alone. This charity helps around 650,000 per year who find themselves in need of help and guidance. You can contact them for free advice on 0800 138 1111.
This article was written on 22 June 2020; all information was correct at the time of writing.