Do CCJs affect your credit score?

So you have county court judgements (CCJs) and you’re worried they could show up on your credit report? Here are the facts.

If you ran into a sticky financial situation in the past and received a CCJ, this will appear on your credit report and remain there for up to 6 years.

But, what will this mean for your ability to be approved for a loan? In many cases, it’ll prove to be a major roadblock, but there is hope.

Will CCJs appear on my credit file?

Your credit file is a visual representation of your borrowing history and how likely you are to be able to pay back loans in the future. A CCJ is an official court order for you to pay back money you owe. This arrives after several formal warnings have been ignored. This is the reason why they appear on your credit report, and are seen as a major red flag by any lender you apply to borrow money from in the future.

Will CCJs affect my chances of getting a loan?

CCJs can single handedly ruin your credit score. Some lenders will flat-out refuse to deal with applicants who have a CCJ on their credit record, regardless of their other credit history.

If you need a loan in the first few years after you get a CCJ, it’s likely you’ll have to deal with lenders that specialise in offering loans to people with bad credit.

These include:

  • Bad credit personal loans. The interest rates on these products tend to be higher than traditional personal loans, and the amount you can borrow is likely to be capped more strictly.
    Bad credit personal loans
  • Credit-builder credit cards. These cards also contain unfavourable interest rates and low credit limits, but each time you successfully pay off your monthly balance on these cards, you can boost your credit score. As such, these products could be a good option if you have CCJs on your credit file.
    Credit-builder credit cards
  • Payday loans. These are short term loans designed to help people in an emergency. They have eye-wateringly high interest rates attached to them, and should therefore be considered only as a one-off last resort. These products are certainly not suitable for regular borrowing.
    Short term instalment loans

Dos and don’ts

Do

  • Search for bad credit lenders. There are providers who specialise in lending to those with bad or fair credit. They’ll most likely use Open-Banking to assess your creditworthiness so have your bank details handy when applying.
  • Read minimum eligibility criteria before applying. Many lenders will flat-out refuse you if you have a CCJ.
  • Compare. Look for the best deal likely to be available to you.
  • Rebuild. Take continuous action to rebuild your credit score.

Don’t

  • Apply for the best-rate loan products. It’s pretty much impossible to be approved for these with a CCJ.
  • Make multiple applications for credit in a short amount of time. This will harm your credit score even further.
  • Panic. There are still lenders out there that will serve you if you need them.

Example: Gary's loan application and his credit score

After being dealt with a CCJ, Gary struggled to be approved for a mobile phone contract. He worked on rebuilding his credit score with a credit builder credit card. After a few months of successfully paying off his balance on this, as well as meeting other direct debits he had set up, he was able to successfully apply for a mobile phone contract.

* This is a fictional, but realistic, example.

Bottom line

A CCJ is a big roadblock for people looking to borrow money. However, there are products that will allow you to borrow money in this situation, whilst rebuilding your credit score at the same time.

Frequently asked questions

Finder survey: How important do Brits think it is to have a credit score?

ResponseYorkshire and the HumberWest MidlandsWalesSouth WestSouth EastScotlandNorthern IrelandNorth WestNorth EastGreater LondonEast of EnglandEast Midlands
Quite important40%33.04%37.88%44.93%37.09%42.11%54.17%38.02%33.33%38.89%40.23%34.09%
Very important38.82%48.7%42.42%36.23%45.7%36.84%33.33%47.93%54.76%40.74%45.98%48.86%
Not that important10.59%9.57%12.12%8.7%12.58%11.84%8.33%9.09%11.9%12.96%3.45%10.23%
I don't know what a credit score is8.24%3.48%4.55%5.8%2.65%3.95%3.31%3.7%4.6%
Not important at all2.35%5.22%3.03%4.35%1.99%5.26%4.17%1.65%3.7%5.75%6.82%
Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of 1032 Brits, December 2023

Read about how different factors can affect your score

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