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Nationwide loan payment holidays accidentally reported as missed payments to credit reference agencies

Some Nationwide customers who took out personal loan payment holidays mistakenly had it reported as a missed payment on their credit report late last week, can reveal. 

Nationwide Building Society has told us it incorrectly reported the details of arranged payment holidays on some personal loan accounts as "missed payments" to the three main credit reference agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Nationwide insists it quickly realised its mistake and contacted the agencies asking them not to upload the data, and provided replacement data which correctly described people's accounts as being up to date. However it's admitted one credit reference agency did upload the incorrect information.

The building society says it worked with the agency concerned - which has confirmed is Equifax - to replace the incorrect information, and this was corrected on Tuesday 19 May. Nationwide insists there will be no "ongoing impact" on affected borrowers' credit reports and the issue has now been resolved - though if you're worried you might have been affected, check your credit report, and if you spot something amiss contact Nationwide as soon as possible.

For more information about loan, mortgage and credit card payment holidays, see our Coronavirus Finance & Bills Help guide.

What went wrong?

Nationwide says it uploaded some personal loan payment holidays to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion as missed payments rather than as contractual payments. The building society says the issue only affects payment holidays for customers with personal loans, not those who have taken credit card or mortgage payment holidays. 

It maintains it quickly realised the error and alerted the credit reference agencies not to upload the erroneous data.

However, MoneySaver Annalese contacted us to say she'd had a negative alert from two credit monitoring apps – Clearscore and CreditWise. When she signed in, she saw that the most recent payment on her Nationwide personal loan had been logged as "missing or in arrears". Clearscore uses data from credit reference agency Equifax.

Both Nationwide's payment holiday terms and the regulator's guidance on payment holidays say that there should be no impact on customers' credit reports from taking a payment holiday. Annalese says she would not have taken the holiday if she thought her credit report would be impacted. She said: "I am very angry. I am currently talking to a mortgage broker about an application, and said I had a 'very good' credit score. I have never missed a payment on anything, ever."

Nationwide has confirmed that Equifax has now fixed the error and replaced the payment holiday data with the correct data. It says customers who were affected by the error and check their credit report should now see that their payments are reported as being up to date.

Annalese has told us that her loan payment is now showing as up to date on her credit report. She says Nationwide has also offered her compensation for the error.

How can I check if my payment holiday's been reported correctly?

If you've taken any kind of payment holiday, it's always worth checking your credit report to see that it's been reported correctly - and given this issue, that's particularly the case if you've taken a personal loan payment holiday with Nationwide. 

If you were up to date with your payments on a particular loan, credit card or mortgage before the payment holiday, your credit reports should still be showing you as up to date on that product. If you were already in arrears and you were granted a payment holiday, then you shouldn't be marked as being further in arrears due to the payment holiday.

For safety, it's worth checking your reports from all three credit reference agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit), though only Equifax uploaded the erroneous data from Nationwide and it has now corrected the error. For step-by-step help, see our guide on how to check your credit reports for free.

While Nationwide insists this error has now been fixed, if you do check your credit report and find anything that looks wrong, contact Nationwide as soon as possible.

What does Nationwide say?

A spokesperson for Nationwide told us: "After sending our regular update to the credit reference agencies, we noticed that some personal loan payment holidays had been incorrectly reported.

"We apologise for the error...There is no ongoing impact on members’ credit files.”

Equifax also confirmed that the issue has been resolved.

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