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RBS reported me to three credit reference agencies for one missed payment

I missed a repayment on my RBS credit card because I didn’t receive that month’s statement. The first I knew about it was when I got a letter stating I had been charged £12.

RBS customer services were very accommodating and removed the charge since I had always paid in full and on time. However, it said that the debt had been reported to three credit reference agencies.

It has taken three letters to RBS CEO Ross McEwan (none of which have been acknowledged), around 12 calls to different divisions of RBS credit cards, three letters to credit reference agency Experian and two to Equifax to try to get a notice of correction applied to my record.

The third credit reference agency I have not managed to make contact with at all.

Initially, RBS refused point blank to send any notice of correction. It then agreed to look into it but nothing has happened. RA, London

It is, of course, your responsibility to pay your credit card bill regardless of whether you receive a statement, but it’s depressing that RBS did not send a reminder and give you a chance to make the payment, especially, as you say, you have an unblemished record.

Companies registered with credit reference agencies wield enormous and largely unchecked power, for they can report any debt – however minute or justifiable – and impede your chances of getting credit. Moreover, the marker remains for six years and you cannot have it removed even if you dispute it.

All you can do is apply a note explaining why you contest it and even that, as you’ve found, can be hard to coax out of a corporate monolith.

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When The Observer intervenes RBS decides to remove the marker and refund the late payment fee and interest as a gesture of goodwill because it was your first missed payment. It confirms debts are automatically referred, regardless of circumstance.

It would now be wise to pay your card by monthly direct debit and set up an online account.


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