Credit Scores and Credit Reports

“The report will show if you have ever missed any payments, or paid late payments.”

Credit Scores &
Credit Reports

What makes up a credit score?
What is in my credit report?
What hurts my credit score?
Loanable Limited is a credit broker & not a lender

Credit Scores &
Credit Reports

What makes up a credit score?
What is in my credit report?
What hurts my credit score?
Loanable Limited is a credit broker & not a lender

Introduction

If you are going to apply for a loan, any loan, be it a mortgage, car finance, credit card, line of credit, etc, your credit history and your credit score are going to be looked at by a potential lender or bank.

That is why it is important that you know and have a basic understanding of credit reports, and credit scoring.

You need to know:

* What makes up a credit score?

* What is in my credit report?

Can I improve my credit rating?

* What hurts my credit score?

* What is a good credit score?

* What is a bad credit score?

* What are lenders looking for in my credit history when I apply for a loan?

Looking for a loan today?

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is information about yourself and your accounts that is gathered by the credit bureaus, and pooled into a database.

Credit reports are details about the accounts you have such as credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc, and the report shows the type of account, balances, monthly payments, and most importantly, how you have paid the account.

The report will show if you have ever missed any payments, or paid late payments.

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a numerical value assigned to your credit report/history, based on various factors, one of those being how you pay your accounts.

A high credit score is considered good, while a low credit score is considered bad.

Lenders use these credit scores to determine if they will approve or reject a loan. They also use these credit scores to determine some of the interest rates they may charge a borrower for a loan.

The higher your credit score, the lower or better an interest rate you may receive on a loan.

The opposite is also true, a low credit score may get you a higher interest rate on a loan; which costs you more money in the end.

Credit score allow lenders to make quick decisions as to if they will approve or reject a loan. So as you can see, it is important to have a basic working knowledge of this prior to applying for a loan.

It is also helpful to actually get a copy of your credit history and know your credit score prior to applying for a loan. As you read on you will learn in more detail what makes up your credit score, and how to improve your credit score and credit rating.

The 5 Most Important Factors That Affect Your Credit Score & How You Can Improve Them

If there is one area of banking and personal finances that mystifies us all, is our credit report and credit scoring. And it doesn’t need to be that way. Although some banks use different methods and criteria to score a loan applicant, the basics and fundamentals are going to remain the same. Of course the banks like to maintain the mystery by not stating how they score loan applicants out, but again, there are the basics guidelines that are used.

A Lending History Lesson

Many moons ago when banks were to make a loan, it was usually a small town bank, where everyone in town knew everyone. If you wanted to borrow money, you met with the bank manager, who then would render a decision or approve or reject the loan based on a few factors:

* Did the bank manager know of you.

* Did the bank manager know of your family.

* Did you own property?

* Where did you work, what type of job did you have and how long have you worked and lived there in town.

Some banks used loan committees. If you wanted a loan, you made an application for the loan and it went before the loan committee. They then made the decision to approve or reject the loan. Some loan committees only met weekly, so you could be waiting for your loan to be decided on.

Then came computers, and credit reports. Decisions on loan applications needed to be resolved quickly as there was competition between banks.

Credit reports began to be used in used the 1960’s, but they were not being regulated until the early 1970’s. Then credit scoring was introduced in the late 70’s

Credit Reports and Credit Scoring

Credit reports are simply databases of information related to someone’s details of their borrowing and what accounts they may have. The report may show loans, credit cards, and details of other accounts.A credit score, is a numerical value assigned to someone based on the information outlined in the credit report.

Most lenders and banks now use a credit score as a basis as to how someone will repay a loan. The higher the credit score the better chances of being approved for a loan. The lower the credit core, the less likely someone will be approved for a loan.

Those borrowers with low credit scores who still need a loan, may need to search out a bad credit loan in order to be approved.

Next we will look at what makes up your credit report, and what makes up your credit score.

What Makes Up Your Credit Report and Credit Score

If we are to unlock the secrets of what is involved in your credit report and credit score, and how to improve your credit score, we first must know what makes up your credit history, and compromises your credit score.

Your credit history is in essence a database; a database of details on you and your accounts, and how those accounts have been paid. That is a credit file in its simplest form.

However, this database, which is reported by three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Call Credit, (of which we will discuss more about credit reporting agencies in detail later), has to be an accurate picture of your credit history.

There can be no iffy or dodgy reporting, credit reports must report the facts.

Think of your credit report as a pie, which various slices of the pie making up portions of your credit file.

Naturally each persons credit file will have various details:

* Name

* Address

* Previous address

But the file will also show:

* Your accounts

* Partial account numbers

* Date the account was opened

* Original loan amount

* Current balance

* And how the accounts have been paid

* Any public records or court issues, such s CCJ’s or bankruptcies

How the accounts have been paid is the crucial aspect, and as we will see plays a huge role in one’s credit score.

A sample credit file can be found here.

What Makes Up Your Credit Score

Now that we have a working knowledge of what is in and on our credit report, we can look at what makes up our credit score.

Again think of your credit score as a pie chart, which each slice making up a percentage of the total score.

The Factors That Make-Up Your Credit Score

* Payment History: This represents the “lion’s share” (35%) of what makes up your credit score, how you pay your accounts. If you pay your accounts late or in arrears, it is going to have a huge impact on your credit score.

* Available Credit: The amount of available credit you have at your disposal has a 30% impact on your credit score. This means if you are near your credit limits or are maxing out your credit cards, it will lower your credit score.

* How Long You Have Been Credit Active: This represents 15% of your credit score, and is based on how long you have been in the credit bureaus and have been credit active. So new credit users will have a reduced credit score over say someone who has been credit active for 10 or 20 years.

* Types of Credit: This represents 10% of your credit score and relates to the types of credit accounts you have. Mortgages rate higher that credit cards, just as car loans rate higher than catalogues.

* Inquiries or Footprints: If you apply for a lot of credit, an inquiry is placed on your credit file, too many of these inquiries reduce your credit score; these represent 10% of your credit score.

As you can see there are many factors used to determine your credit score.

But there is more.

Many banks are now experimenting with social media as another way to determine as to if they will grant a loan.

There is a positive aspect to this as someone with no credit, but has a strong social media background, may get approved for a loan. The downside is that someone who does not use social media or has “questionable” friends may be declined for a loan.

Next let’s look at what you can do to improve your credit score step-by-step.

Improving One’s Credit Score: Step-by-Step –

The first thing to do here if you wish to improve your credit score, is to obtain a copy of one’s credit history and credit score.

You need to review it for any errors or omissions. There may be an account reported incorrectly, or an account you have may not be reported at all.

It does need to be mentioned here, not all lenders report to all the credit bureaus, so you may not see an account you have on all three credit reporting agencies.

In reviewing what makes up your credit report, let’s look at how we can take each component and improve our credit score.

* Payment History: As payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, it is important to pay your accounts on time. This cannot be stressed enough. Late payments have a huge impact on your credit score. Should you miss a payment don’t panic, but try not to have it happen again.

* Available Credit: If you are using more than 30% of your available credit limits, it is affecting your credit score. An example of his maybe, you have three credit lines of the following:

A) Credit card ABC with a credit limit of £1,000, with a balance of £500.

B A personal loan of £2,000, with a £1,500 balance on it

C) A Line of credit for £5,000, of which there is balance of £3,000.

Your total credit limits are £8,000, of which you have £6,0000 outstanding that is due.

That represents a 75% usage of your credit limits, which being above 30% , has a negative impact on your credit score. By keeping credit balances low, or by spreading the balances amongst other accounts, you can improve your credit score.

If you had the same debt load, but five (5) different accounts instead of three, with increased total credit line of £18,000, and still £6,000 in total debt, that would be only 30% ratio.

How Long Have You Been Credit Active: This relate to how long you have been in the credit bureaus. The longer you have been credit active, the more it improves your credit score.

The same can be said for having too many open accounts. By closing some of these unused accounts you can improve your credit score, but you would not want to close the oldest account you have, as it shows how long you have been credit active.

Types of Credit: Having a mortgage is stronger in improving your credit score than say having a store card, or catalogue account. Personal and instalment loans help to improve your credit score as do credit cards. Logbook loans, and or a doorstop loan are less likely to improve your credit score.

In addition, if a lender does not report to the credit bureaus, then this does not help your credit history or credit score at all. These accounts need to be reported to the credit reporting agencies.

Inquiries or Footprints: Every time a bank or potential lender looks at your credit file they leave a mark, a mark showing their name and that they reviewed your credit history. Too many of these will lower your credit score. So don’t apply for a lot of credit.

Some credit reporting agencies will see a few inquiries possibly in a few days all from car finance companies, and assuming you are seeking car finance, the credit bureau will then lump these inquiries into one query.

There are also soft and hard inquiries into your credit history.

Soft Inquiries: These types of inquires may be done by credit card companies looking to “pre-approve” people for credit cards. Or a potential employer my review your credit file as a matter of course to offer a job, or possibly you are reviewing your own credit file.

These inquiries do not affect your credit score.

Hard Inquiries: These forms of inquires are from a lender(s) when you make an application for a loan, and this type of inquiry can impact your credit score.

The more you apply around for credit, the more lenders may feel you my be irresponsible with credit, or apply for too much credit.

Additional ways you improve your credit score is to get on the electoral role. This aids creditors in not just knowing you are a real person, but also confirms your address.

Closing Unused Accounts: If you have many open, but unused lines of credit, it is best to close these. But don’t close your oldest account, because as we can see, the longer you have been in the credit system, the better it helps your credit score.

Again reviewing your credit history for any error or omissions can really help in improving one’s credit score as well.

Things That do Not Affect Your Credit Score –

Just as there are many things that affect your credit score, there are some things that people think do affect their credit score, sort of “myths” that surround what makes up your credit score.

However, one thing we will find as we read on, is that some of these items that are not currently reported to credit bureaus, may soon be reported. Some credit reporting agencies are experimenting with some non-traditional ways to create credit scores.

This is a way to help those with no credit, or weak and poor credit get a loan.

What Does Not Go Into Making Up Your Credit Score

* Spouse or Partner’s Credit: Each person has their own credit file, so your spouse or partner’s credit file is not associated with yours, and is not used in determining your credit score. The only instance where an account may be reported on both credit files is if the account is jointly held in both names, or there is a co-signer on the account.

* Gas, Electricity and Phone Bills: This includes mobile phone bills. While an inquiry made be made to take out an account, unless the accounts fall into arrears and you owe them money, they are usually not reported to the credit agencies. Of course if you default on the account, it could very well be reported as in arrears and a collection account, which then would affect your credit score.

There are some changes being made here where some utility companies are beginning to report the accounts.

* Loans to Friends and Family: Unless your friend or family member reports to the credit bureaus, these loans are not a part of your credit file or credit score.

* Rent: Currently the majority of landlords do not report to the credit bureaus, so this does not affect your credit score, however, as we will read later, this may soon change.

* Soft Inquiries: Soft inquiries, those used by potential employers, or when an eligibility for a loan is checked, it does not affect your credit score.

* Council Tax: Council taxes are also not reported to the credit bureaus, so they do not aid in improving your credit score.

* Wages and Savings: What you earn and what you may have in savings does not go on your credit history. Having good wages or money in the bank may help in getting a loan, but they are not reported on your credit file, so they do help or hinder your credit score. Why It Is Important to Have a Good Credit Score – chapter 5

Having a good credit score and good credit seems to be the goal for many of us, and it is easy to see why. Having good credit opens many doors, while having a low credit score can close many doors, including the door to owning your own home.

Good is always better than bad.

Let’s start with why having a good credit score is an advantage over a poor credit score.

* Getting approved for a mortgage or a loan: If you want to get on the property ladder, or need a loan or credit card for any reason, having a good credit score increases your chances of being approved.

* Lower interest rates: The better/higher your credit score, not only does it improve your chances of being approve for a mortgage or loan, but you will also receive a lower interest rate. Lower interest rates can save you thousands of £££ over the years.

* Jobs: Some employers use credit ratings and credit scores as a basis for hiring potential employees. A low credit score could affect getting a job or promotion.

* Insurance Premiums: Just as some employers use credit scores as a basis in hiring, insurance companies may use credit ratings in determining insurance premiums. A low credit score may cause your insurance premiums to be higher.

* Deposits: With a high credit rating you may not be required to give a deposit for utilities or other items.

So as we can see, have a good credit report and credit score can mean more than just being approved for a loan, it can save us money on insurances and help in getting a job. The Three Major Credit Reporting Agencies

Here in the UK we have three major credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus.

Equifax

Experian

Call Credit

These credit reporting agencies receive updated information from banks and lenders on their account holders, those account holders that they have outstanding loans with them, or who previously may have had accounts with them.

Accounts are usually reported to the credit bureaus monthly, although they can be weekly, and it is all done via computer uploads to the various credit bureaus.

All the reporting must be of an accurate nature, so no mistakes.

And as previously mentioned, not all lenders report to the credit bureaus. If one of the lenders you have an account with does not report to an agency, you may want to speak to that creditor as to why they they do not report. You can also contact the credit bureaus to make them aware as well, as they are always looking for ways to increase their database of creditors so they can obtain information.

Occasionally an error or omission can be made, these need to be rectified and corrected.

And each credit agency has a procedure in place to make these corrections.

Errors and Omissions

If in reviewing your credit file you find an account that is not yours, or has been reported inaccurately, you need to notify that credit bureau to have it corrected.

There are two ways to rectify an error or omission:

* Contact the creditor in question directly and request they investigate the issue.

* Contact the credit bureaus and have them investigate the issue.

Either way, the error can be corrected.

Credit Myths and FAQ’s – chapter 7

Over the years there have been many myths and legends revolving around credit scores, credit reports, and just credit and getting credit in general. Some of these myths are founded in truths, however, many are just that, myths.

Some common credit myths:

My credit affects my spouse or partner’s credit.

Myth: Each person’s credit file and credit score is just that, theirs, the two reports are never combined unless there is a jointly held account. Then just the jointly held account may be reported on both credit files.

I am responsible for my parter or spouse’s debts.

Myth: Each person is only responsible for their own debts and accounts. The only time someone else may be responsible is if the account is if the account is jointly held in both names, or someone has co-signed or has guaranteed the account.

Bankruptcy and bad credit stays on your credit history forever.

Myth: Bankruptcy just like everything on your credit files stays for a period of six (6) years then drops off. Once you are made bankrupt, you are in bankruptcy for a period of 12 months, or one (1), it would then fall off your credit file in five years.

I can never change my credit score.

Myth: As we discussed earlier, credit scores are fluid and can change over time. It is possible to improve or increase one’s credit score.

There is a “blacklist” for people with poor credit.

Myth: There is no blacklist for people with poor credit. The only way a lender or bank knows about someone’s credit history is to review their credit history and credit score. There is no list of those that may have missed payments or defaulted on loans.

When I die my family have to pay my debts.

Myth: It is not that your debts die with you, if there were a co-signer, or guarantor, or the account was in joint names, then the surviving person would be responsible for the account, that is all.

If the deceased leaves an estate, meaning they had property or other assets, a creditor they owe could try to lay claim to a portion of the estate in the hopes of being repaid, but that would involve the probate court.

Family members are not responsible for other’s debts, again, unless they co-signed, it was a joint accounts, or they guaranteed the loan.

Anything left directly in a will, may or may not be contested by a creditor, however, any insurance money, would pass directly to the person inheriting it, and any creditors cannot lay claim to it.

Household Budgets and Managing Our Money – chapter 8

In looking at credit scores and credit scoring, we must look at what can be done to keep a good credit score and rating, and that begins at home, with our household budget and how we maintain our finances.

Creating a budget on paper is easy, living each month is the challenge.

We need to put “pen to paper” and track where our money is going each month. Then we know really where we are spending.

It way be easy to show “Mr. Banker” we can afford the loan we are applying for, but then each month we need to live with the payments.

On thing we can do is to put aside each month the money that would be for our new loan payments, getting used to the idea that we will now have that extra bill to pay.

Track Your Expenses – Track Where Your Money Goes

One of the easiest ways to know where your money is going in order to be able to set-up a household budget is to track your spending. Write down where you spend every penny, pence and pound.

Do this for a few months and you will then have a handle on where the money goes.

You can then put together a realistic budget to show what your expenditures are, and also what income you have coming in.

It also allows you to see areas you may want to make some changes in your spending.

If you buy lunch or breakfast out each day and spend £5, that’s £25 a week, or £1,250 a year, based on 50 weeks.

If you want to save for a holiday, this is one area you may be able to make some adjustments to save money. And saving money looks good to banks and lenders when applying for a loan.

Once you have all the figures of your income and expenses, you can then look to see if you are in the red (bad), or in the black (good).

Banks will look at this too, in reviewing to grant loans.

Documentation

It is difficult for many of us to keep records of our spending, bank statements, etc, all due to us being green. But banks do keep records for a period of six years, so you may need to get copies from them if required by a bank for a loan.

Thing like wage slips, P60’s and P800’ s from HMRC should be kept indefinitely. This can be very helpful when applying for a mortgage.

Better managing our money not only improves our chances of being approved for a loan, but can also help in improving our credit score.

Future Changes in Credit Reporting – chapter 9

Just as all things change with the times, banking and lending money is no different.

Back in the horse and buggy days, you just went into the bank, spoke to the bank manager and requested a loan.

Well times and technology has changed all that.

We want answers, and approvals for our loans instantly. We want to know that day, are we approved for our loan or not.

And technology has responded to this; with the use of computers and credit scoring, lenders can make almost instant decisions as to if we will be approved for a loan or not. Again, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved for a loan.

However, in discussing bad credit loans, or loans for people with no credit, new scoring guidelines may need to be used. Banks need to make loans, even bad credit loans.

How do you score someone with no credit who may need and apply for a loan?

They may show affordability, and pay their rent on time, and be of good character, they just have not used credit in the past, or have poor credit.

What is the future of credit scoring and lending?

Social Media

Using social media as a means to score someone’s credit is being used in other countries, and also here as well.

And even applying and approving loans using smartphones based on their smartphone usage.

In the use of social media, such as Facebook, lenders may look at who your friends are, and use this as a basis to determine to approve or reject a loan.

In one of the patents Facebook has applied for it states, “In a fourth embodiment of the invention, the service provider is a lender. When an individual applies for a loan, the lender examines the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network who are connected to the individual through authorized nodes. If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected.”

This means if your friends have had loans denied, your loan could be denied as well.

However, on the upside, if you are applying for a bad credit loan and have friends with good credit, it may improve your chances of being approved.

So it can work to your advantage.

Landlord Reports

Some credit bureaus are experimenting with getting landlords to report to the credit bureaus as to how their tenants pay their rent.

Just because someone may have defaulted on a loan in the past may not necessarily make them a bad credit risk. They may have paid their rent on time, and this could show another side of them, and could be used as a part of what makes up their credit score.

Banks and lenders need customers, they need borrowers, so they need new and modern ways to score them out.

Just as a landlord may report a tenant is in arrears, why not report they are good paying tenants.

One tenant stated, In the long run, having a two-year excellent credit line for my rental payments will add value by helping me to potentially receive lower interest rates on a mortgage and car and consumer loans. I may even get a better rate on insurance premiums.”

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending or P2P lending is not new, but it can be away for someone with weak or no credit to get a loan.

Investors pool their money together, and then grant loans to applicants using credit scoring, but also other criteria.

Borrowers who would normally be rejected by high street banks and lenders, can be approved through P2P lenders.

In this way the investors get a better rate of return on their money/investment, than if they just put the money in a bank, and borrowers get approved for a loan at a better interest rate than what they may have received from a bank.

A win-win situation. Especially for those with weak or poor credit.

The Future of Making Payments

Even the future of how we make payments is and will change.

There has been mobile banking around for a few years now. You can check your balances, transfer money, etc. But now there are a range of applications allowing you to send money to someone, pay bills, even make purchases at the till all with your mobile phone.

Paypal has been around for years now, you can send and receive payments easily using just someone’s email address.

Now there is Paym, which allows you to send money or make payments just using their mobile number.

Google is even experimenting with just using your face to make payments.

The Head of Paypal’s Retail Services, Rob Harper stated, “PayPal first brought ‘pay by mobile’ to the UK high street two years ago. Through our Richmond initiative, we’re pleased to help local businesses of all sizes offer a new more personal experience, while never having to turn away customers who don’t have enough cash on them to pay.”

“This is another step on the journey towards a wallet-less high street, where customers will be able to leave their wallet or purse at home and pay using their phone or tablet. We predict that by 2016 this will become a reality.”

And it is already here as more and more banks and lenders roll this new technology out.

So the future of banking and credit scoring is already upon us.

Who knows what will be used next to “score” us out for loans, credit cards, and mortgages.

In Conclusion – chapter 10

By now we have covered quite a bit of information.

What makes up your credit score:

* How you pay your bills, payment history – 35%

* How much credit you have used and what is left available – 30%

* The age of your credit history, how long have you been credit active – 15%

* The types of credit or accounts you have – 10%

* The number of inquiries you have, how many times you apply for credit – 10%

We have also covered how to improve credit score:

* Pay your accounts and bills on time when they are due.

* Don’t max out your credit limits or use all your credit, stay at or below 30%.

* Close old accounts, but not your oldest credit account.

* Don’t apply for or use store cards or catalogues.

* Don’t apply for numerous credit cards or credit accounts.

Armed with this knowledge, you can improve your credit score and be approved for the loans you may need, at lower interest rates

FAQs about Credit Score

I worked in Dubai for a year and when I lost my job I moved back here to the UK. The bank there is demanding payment in full and will not accept payments what can I do?

Unfortunately the banks in Dubai are very antiquated and harsh. They want full payment and do not entertain the thought of a repayment plan. If you cannot to afford to repay the account in full, then you cannot afford to. Unless they sell the account onto a collection agency here in the UK, or assign the account out to an agent, there is little they can do to you here in the UK.

My partner is soon to move in with me and he has loads of debts from his business, once he moves in will I be responsible for his debts

No, his debts are just that his. You are not responsible in anyway unless you co-signed for them.

I am about to go bankrupt and have been living with my partner for 12 years, he owns his own home. Will my bankruptcy affect his property

Technically your bankruptcy should not affect your partner’s property, however, there is a thing called “beneficial interest” that may come into play. If you have contributed in anyway to the property, such as pay the mortgage (if there is one), or paid for or maintained or paid for up keep in way, it could show you have an interest in the property.

I am trying to get a loan, but keep being rejected and my credit score while good is not too high. What can I do

Getting on the electoral roll may help increase your credit score. Also review your credit history to insure it is correct.

I recently had debts abroad in the UAE and left to come back to the UK. I have been contacted by a solicitor here in the UK threatening me with bankruptcy here over the debts I left behind, can they do that

Possibly, yes. If the debt was sold on, or had a “non-jurisdictional” clause in the contract, it can be assigned out to an agency, such as one here in the UK. This means they can collect the debt, but in accord with the laws here in the UK. Which also allows you the options we have here in the UK to deal with the debt, such as an IVA or a debt management plan.

Does making a claim for PPI affect your credit

No, PPI claims do not affect your credit, nor do they affect the relationship you have with your bank.

If I apply for a store card or a credit card prior to applying for a mortgage will it affect my credit

Yes, it very well can affect your credit. Not only are you opening new lines of credit, but there will be footprints/inquiries as well, which could lower your credit score.

My partner is going bankrupt and we have a joint bank account, will this be a problem

Potentially if you or them owe the bank any money. My advice would be to open your own bank account just to be on the safe side.

I have a low credit score due to a few default notices. If I pay these off, how quick will my credit core rise

That is difficult to say. Credit scores do not rise overnight. The fact you will have paid them and they show a zero balance will help in raising your credit score.

Will my landlord be notified if I go bankrupt

Not as a matter of course of business. The Official Receiver may want to see a copy of your tenancy agreement, this is to only show you do not have an interest in the property. If you cannot provide a copy of the agreement, they may then contact your landlord. You need to review your tenancy agreement as some agreements have a clause that if the tenant goes bankrupt, the landlord can request the tenant to leave. The landlord may not do this at all. In any case, you can have a private word with your landlord.

I defaulted on a credit card in 2011, when will this come off my credit report

The default stays on your credit report six (6) years from the date of the default, so 2017.

If I change jobs will it affect my credit score

No, changing jobs has no affect on your credit score.

My wife and I are divorcing and have joint accounts. In the divorce decree she is to pay half the credit cards, and myself the other half. Will this affect our credit scores

As long as all the accounts are paid as agreed, no, your credit ratings will not be affected. However, if one of you stops paying, as they are joint accounts, you both are responsible, so it could affect your credit scores.

I’m being threatened with bailiffs and am worried what they may take. I have my truck for work, my tools, the kids toys. What will they take

First rule with bailiffs, do not let them in your property. Period! Close the blinds and do not let them in under any circumstance. Bailiffs cannot force entry into a property except in rare instances. If you were to let a bailiff in your property, they will take an accounting of all that is there. If for any reason you do not keep up with the agreed payments, the second time out, they can force entry. Items like toys, clothing, tools of the trade, a cooker, fridge, etc, are protected and cannot be taken. Again, the major rule in dealing with bailiffs is to NOT let them in under any circumstance. Even if they say they need to use the bathroom, etc. If they state they have a warrant, ask them to post it through your post slot and insure it is a court order for forced entry.