Credit after County Court Judgements
A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a court order that can be issued if you owe money and haven't kept up with the agreed repayments. If the court rules that you’re liable for the amount owed, they will issue a CCJ and you’ll need to make fixed repayments until the debt is cleared.
You can have more than one CCJ at any one time, and a record of each will be shown on your credit file for six years after the date they were issued.
Can you get credit after a CCJ?
Having any record of defaulted payments and CCJ’s on your credit file may affect your ability at gaining further credit and can limit your borrowing options, but you are still be able to get credit after a CCJ but this will be dependent on the lender and what you are borrowing.
Although not strictly a CCJ credit card, a Vanquis credit card is available for people with a lower credit score, and those with a CCJ against their name could still be eligible.
If you’re looking to get credit after a CCJ, it can help to use an eligibility checker to find out your chance of acceptance before you make a full application. This is because a rejected credit application can have a negative effect on your credit score, as can multiple applications in a short space of time, so using an eligibility checker helps to minimise this risk.
How long does a CCJ last?
Any record of defaulted payments and CCJ will stay on your credit report for a period of six years from the date of the judgment, even after you have paid this off.
It’s worth knowing how long CCJ’s last because having a record of one on your credit file may affect your ability to get credit. The good news is that its impact will reduce over time, particularly if you handle any subsequent credit correctly.
How do I remove a CCJ?
If a CCJ is issued against you, the details will be added to the CCJ register, which is a public database that is officially known as the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines. Any record of your CCJ will automatically be removed after six years, regardless of whether or not you’ve paid it off.
You can apply to have the CCJ removed from your report if you pay it off in full within one month of the judgement being issued. Here’s how to do that:
- Apply for a ‘certificate of cancellation’ from the County Court hearing centre which issued the judgment.
- Provide them with proof of payment, using court form N443 Application for a certificate of satisfaction / cancellation (PDF). There’s a £15 court fee to do this, but if you’re on a low income you may be able to get this for free.
- When the court has the evidence it needs, they’ll contact the Registry Trust to remove the judgment from the public register.
If you pay off the CCJ more than a month after the judgment, it can’t be removed and will stay on your credit file for six years, even if you pay it off sooner.
If you’re looking to improve your credit score with a CCJ on your file, you may still be eligible for a bad credit credit card which, if used correctly, can be used as a ‘credit builder’ to improve your score.
Options when responding to the court claim form
If you get a court order claiming you owe someone money, you must respond by the date highlighted in the letter to avoid further action being taken. There are three ways you can do this:
- Pay the full amount
- Pay only what you think you owe
- Defending the claim (if you’ve already paid and don’t think you owe any money)
If you need more time to defend the claim or only pay what you think you owe, you can ask for a further 14 days to respond by filling in the acknowledgement of service form in the response pack and sending it to the court address on the claim form.
How to obtain credit after a CCJ
Once you’ve repaid your CCJ, it will be marked as ‘CCJ satisfied’ on your credit file. This looks better than having an unpaid outstanding judgement but could still cause problems when applying for credit.
The impact of your CCJ will also reduce over time, but there are a few things you can do to help improve your score in the meantime:
- Make sure you’re registered at your current address on the electoral roll.
- Make sure you keep up to date with payments on your CCJ and any other credit agreements.
- Make no more than one credit application in any three month period. It’s also worth using an eligibility checker before you submit a full loan or credit card application.
- Make sure there are no errors on your credit file.
Can you make the CCJ payments?
If you’re issued with a CCJ, it’s important to pay off the debt, preferably within four weeks of the judgement being issued. If not, you could end up facing legal costs or, if you’re a homeowner, a charging order to secure the debt against your property.
When you get issued with your CCJ, you’ll get a court order that explains how much you owe, who the money is owed to and the payment deadline, which you can meet in one payment or in instalments.
If you can’t afford the repayments, you can use an N245 application form to request a change to the amount you pay each week or month. You’ll need to give details of your incomings and outgoings and say how much you can realistically afford to pay.
You might also have to pay a £50 court fee and if your offer is rejected, the court will decide on the amount you have to pay.
Borrowing money after a CCJ
If you’re looking to borrow money after a CCJ has been satisfied, you need to bear in mind that it will still have an impact on your credit score and only apply to suitable lenders and products.
Not all lenders will accept applications from people with a lower credit score, so only apply for loans and credit cards designed for bad credit, from lenders who specialise in dealing with people in such circumstances or using an eligibility checker before applying.
Vanquis may still consider credit applications with consumers who have lower credit scores, so use our credit cards eligibility checker to see if you will be accepted.
CCJ Satisfied? Check your records
If your CCJ is satisfied, then you need to make sure this has been recorded on your credit file. You can do this by contacting each of the UK’s three main credit reference agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – and getting a free copy of your credit report.
Removing your CCJ from your credit report
If you pay your CCJ within a month of it being issued, or if six years have passed since the date the judgement was issued, it should be removed from your credit file.
This should be done automatically once your final payment is made, but you should make sure by contacting the lender and the court to make sure it’s marked as being ‘satisfied’, and then check it’s been marked as such by each of the credit referencing agencies.
If a CCJ is still on your credit file after six years, despite being marked as satisfied by the court, you should contact the credit referencing agencies individually to have your details amended.
Build or rebuild your credit rating with a Vanquis credit card
Vanquis credit cards are designed for people with lower credit scores and when used correctly, can help to improve your credit score.
If you have a poor credit score, we recommend you use our credit card eligibility checker before applying, as this will give you an initial decision without risking any further impact on your credit score.
If you’re accepted, you’ll need to use your card correctly to build your credit score, which means at least making the minimum repayment on time each month and not going over your credit limit.
Remember, just making the minimum payment means your debt will take longer to pay down and you’ll pay more in interest, so always try to pay more than the minimum and if affordable ideally pay the balance in full each month.