Taking your first steps on the path to a brighter financial future
Responding to the Court Claim Form - if you've received a Court Claim Form, the first thing you may want to do is to decide how you're going to respond to the claim. You may wish to dispute the amount owed, dispute the claim itself or even counterclaim against the creditor. These options are explained in more detail on our County Court Judgments (CCJs) page.
The following information assumes that you do not dispute the claim, and you are willing to try to meet the repayments.
⏩ Make the payments
If you do owe the money, and you are able to pay it in full within 14 days of receiving a Court Claim Form (or 28 days if you apply for more time), you should do so. This should result in the matter being resolved with no impact on your credit record.
If you are unable to pay immediately, you can apply to the court to pay in instalments or at a later date. However, this will mean you will still likely have a CCJ issued against you.
Try to prioritise meeting the payments that the court decides on. If you cannot, or think you might miss a payment, you should notify the court as soon as possible – you might be able to have the payments changed or suspended.
Missing payments without notifying the court is the worst course of action. Your creditor is likely to step up action against you, and you might lose your property, or face additional fines and court fees.
⏩ Satisfy your CCJ – and make sure records are up-to-date
When you have paid the agreed amount, along with any additional fees or fines, your CCJ is considered "satisfied". However, as the CCJ register isn't automatically updated, you should contact the court with proof of your payment to make sure that the CCJ status is up-to-date.
You can search the Registry Trust's website to check the current status of your CCJ. You can also apply for a Certificate of Satisfaction, which may be useful when approaching lenders for credit.
⏩ Approach lenders – after enough time has passed
It's not a good idea to go straight to lenders as soon as you've satisfied your CCJ. Even if you've repaid in full, it may not look favourably if you're trying to borrow money so soon after getting in trouble for failing to repay a debt. Any unsuccessful application for credit will stay on your credit file, harming your credit score further.
In general, waiting at least six months after your CCJ has been satisfied, and then approaching a specialist lender such as Vanquis is sensible. Other factors regarding your financial history will be taken into account, but a CCJ alone usually shouldn't stop you from getting credit from a lender who specialises in customers with poor credit histories.
⏩ Be sensible about borrowing
If you borrow too much and are unable to repay it, you risk finding yourself with another CCJ. That said, borrowing sensible amounts – and repaying them on time – demonstrates that you are able to manage borrowing within limits.
Products like a Vanquis Credit Card are designed for situations like this, and over time help to rebuild your credit score and should be able to access more competitive forms of credit.
⏩ After six years, make sure your CCJ is no longer on your record
Six years after the date of the judgment, your CCJ should be removed from the register, which means credit reference agencies won't be able to see it and it will not stop affecting your credit rating altogether. Again, use the Registry Trust website and make sure it's up-to-date.
To find out more about how a Vanquis Credit Card can help you rebuild your credit rating, take a look at our credit cards information page.