Each time someone searches your credit report, a record is left at the credit reference agency they search. This is called a search footprint. Search footprints include Enquiries, or Application Searches, depending on whether the search relates to a casual quotation enquiry, or a full blown credit application. Only Application Searches affect your credit scoring.
A record of an enquiry will be left on your file every time you purchase a new credit report but this does not affect your credit score at all – you should be sure to view your updated credit reports on a regular basis. Lenders are able to see Enquiry Footprints, and if they are made for Debt Collection reasons, they may decline to assist you on the basis of that information alone.
An application search is recorded when you apply for a credit commitment and the lender searches one or more of the three credit reference agencies to view the information held on you. Application searches are seen by lenders, so that they can make an assessment of how ‘credit active’ you are. There are lots of myths about the problems caused by having several credit application searches recorded on your credit file. Certainly, many searches within an hour or two can indicate a possible fraud, and dozens in a month can indicate financial desperation, but up to about 12 searches on file in a year is perfectly normal and is expected. Very low levels of searches can tell lenders that you are not very credit active, so they may not be so willing to lend to you.
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