Can I get credit despite recent BFPO address?

Dear James,

I am in the army and have spent the last three years in Cyprus at a BFPO address. Although I am now based back in the UK I am unable to obtain credit anywhere, largely because no one seems to accept BFPO as a valid address even though I was registered to vote through this address. Are there any lenders who recognise the BFPO address?

John, Blackpool

Dear John,

Many UK organisations use the Royal Mail’s postcode address file to organise customer addresses and will therefore have struggled to process a BFPO address because it will not have had a UK postcode. This is something that Royal Mail has been working on to help tackle some of these issues. But that will not help your credit history just yet I'm afraid. You say you were registered to vote at your Cyprus base. If you used the service voter facility and provided a home address in the UK (as opposed to a nominal contact address), including that home address on a credit application should enable the lender to retrieve your historical electoral roll information through a credit check. Otherwise, I’m afraid they are likely to draw a blank. Your starting point should be to obtain a copy of your credit report. If your report contains little or no information you are likely to be asked to send proof of name and address before your report is released. You’ll then be able to see what you have to work with. Make sure you get onto the electoral roll at your current address. If you maintained a relationship with a UK bank while you were overseas this can help you. Banks now share information about customer overdraft facilities through the credit reference agencies, so that might be a useful building block for your credit history. Any information about active accounts you already have with the bank should now appear at your current address. Your bank is also more likely to be prepared to offer you other types of credit based on this existing relationship. Importantly, UK lenders have recently agreed to not automatically refuse a credit application simply because it includes a BFPO address.  To give you a more general leg up the credit history ladder, consider adding a note to your report explaining your period overseas and, if possible, offering a letter from your then Commanding Officer confirming your circumstances. Any lender checking your credit report will see this note and it may help you re-establish your credit credentials. (April 2012)

James
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