The NatWest glitch — where the bank’s computer failure locked thousands out of their accounts and caused millions of missed payments — may seem like old news to some.
For others, however, the impact of the June meltdown could be lingering on, and neglecting to act now could see their future applications refused for loans, credit cards and even mortgages.
It’s not just NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland customers who could be hit: those of other banks were affected when late-payment or overdraft fees were imposed because expected deposits from RBS were delayed. Anyone who fails to take action could face lingering black marks on credit records which could push up the cost of future borrowing.
RBS and NatWest have promised that account holders whose transactions were locked out will be compensated, but it’s crucial to check your credit status now. If it has been affected, it’s not difficult to rectify, but could become tougher as time goes on so it’s important to act quickly.
Check your credit rating with a reference agency. Doing so will normally cost a few quid, but the firms offer free trials that mean you can do so without paying. And if you sign up via a cashback site, you could even make money. Sign up to a 30-day trial with CreditExpert via Quidco, for example, and it will pay you five pounds for doing so. Other suppliers offering free trials include Equifax and Checkmyfile. Make sure you remember to cancel the free trials afterwards.
If you do find negative credit data related to the RBS fault, get in touch with the bank to have it removed. If you find other data on, for example, missed payments that is accurate but was not your fault, contact the credit agency to add explanatory notes. A doctor’s letter may explain why sickness caused a missed payment, for example.
Acting now could prove crucial to organise borrowings in the future, particularly mortgages. Other ways to improve your rating include closing unused bank or store cards, installing a landline telephone, joining the electoral roll - and always paying bills on time.