Do you know how to check your credit report? Have you ever wondered how a lender makes their decision before offering your credit? One of the tools they use is your credit report. This provides them with your financial history so they are able determine whether or not you are a good risk to lend money to.
Who assembles my credit report?
There are three main companies in the UK that compile information about how well you manage credit and make payments. They are:
What information does my credit report hold?
Typically you can find the following information in your credit report:
- A list of any credit accounts in your name. This will include bank accounts, credit cards and other credit agreements such as loans and even your utility company. It will detail whether you have made payments on time and in full. If you have any late payments, or missed payments, it will stay on your credit report for six years – this is also the case if you have any County Court Judgements (CCJs) for any non-payment of debts, have entered into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or bankruptcy.
- Details of anyone you have taken out a joint credit account with.
- Public record information such as CCJs (decrees in Scotland), house repossession and bankruptcies for six years after they occurred.
- Details of your overdraft with your current account provider.
- If you are on the electoral register.
- Your name and date of birth.
- Your current, and all your previous addresses.
- Details of any fraudulent activity, held under the CIFAS section.
There are no details of your salary, criminal record or your religion contained within your credit report.
Who checks my credit report?
If you apply for credit, the process will usually involve you giving permission to the lender to check your credit report.
‘Credit providers’ are not just banks, building societies and credit card companies. They also include mobile phone providers and mail order companies.
Employers and landlords can also ask to see your credit report when applying for a job or when you are looking to let a home. Although, they usually only see public records such as electoral roll information and to check whether or not you have any CCJs or insolvency records held against you.
Where can I check my credit report?
All three credit reference agencies have a statutory obligation to provide your credit file – they can charge you £2 for this. You can access your report online, or by requesting it to be sent by post. Your statutory credit report shows a snapshot of your current credit history.
You can check for free by checking out Noddle – which is a trading style of Callcredit – as well as ClearScore, who base their service data on Equifax data. It well may be worth applying for it this way before paying anything out.
How does a lender use my credit report?
There is no set criteria on what each lender looks for. They all look for different things to decide whether or not they will lend to you.
When should I check my report?
When applying for any kind of credit such as a mortgage, credit card or a loan, you should check your credit report. You should also check it every now and again to ensure there are no mistakes or missed payments that you wasn’t aware of.
You can check your credit report as frequently as you like without affecting your credit score.
It’s usually when a lender checks your credit report that a record of the search is left. However, in some cases if you have made an enquiry or had a quote for a loan or credit card, there may be what is called a footprint left on your file. You can always ask what sort of credit file search the provider will perform before they carry it out if you are unsure.
How can I improve my credit score?
There are many things you can do to improve your credit score, you can find them here and here!
You may also want to consider using Creditbuilder™ if you are looking for something to help improve your credit rating without the need for a credit check.