Which accounts will show on your credit file

Posted by Neil Greenhill in Credit Reports on 10 January 2017 - Neil is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Electoral roll, Court and Insolvency data normally appear on credit files without fail, alongside the information created by the credit reference agencies - searches, linked addresses and association/alias information.

Credit account information relies on lenders to report those accounts and not all accounts will appear on credit reports. Here we try to give a brief explanation of when an account will be reported to the credit reference agencies and when it won’t.

Before reporting to the credit reference agencies, each company must first have a reciprocal agreement with one or more of the credit reference agencies. Most well-known lenders will have such an agreement in place, allowing them to check credit files during the application phase and also to report account information after an account has been created.

When applying for an account, most of us agree to the terms and conditions with only a glance, but read through them in full and you will find that by agreeing to the terms and conditions of the account you agree to your payment history information for that account being reported to the credit reference agencies. With the reciprocal agreement in place and your agreement to the terms and conditions, a company can start reporting payment history information to the credit reference agencies.

However, not all accounts are reported, with the frequency of reporting often varying between and within types of credit agreements. Below we cover off the most common form of agreements and explain when they are reported to the credit reference agencies.

Generally most credit products such as Credit cards, Loans, Mortgages and Current accounts will appear on credit files. This is not to say all accounts of these types will show, it is the lenders discretion as to whether they report an individual account to the credit reference agencies and in some cases a lender will choose not to report accounts. Further older legacy accounts which pre-date a company’s decision to report to the credit reference agencies are often not reported – in particular this tends to effect old current accounts, as current account providers are infrequently changed by consumers and accounts can remain open for a lifetime. One type of bank account that will never show on a credit report is a savings account, this is because credit reports only show your borrowing.

Mobile phone accounts are routinely reported to the agencies and it is unusual for this type of account to be left unreported to the credit reference agencies. Some providers have now started reporting the line rental and loan as two separate accounts.

Store cards are reported just as frequently as credit cards, they often appear as a credit card on the credit report and where this is the case will be included in your level of credit card borrowing. Often store cards will be run by a bank or finance company which is separate to the shop where the store care was obtained.

Home shopping, Online shopping and Catalogue accounts all regularly appear on credit files, particularly where the account is with a larger national provider.

Debt Collectors almost always report accounts to the credit reference agencies. Accounts held by debt collectors will almost always have defaulted before the debt collector bought the debt and so the debt collector’s entry will also show as defaulted as well.

Vehicle Finance agreements will often show on the credit file, some agreements cover the whole cost of the vehicle, whereas others will only cover the cost of the finance period.

Utility accounts such as Water, Electricity and Gas are now routinely reported to the credit reference agencies. That said not all suppliers take this approach. Until recently, these accounts were not considered a form of credit and so some companies have not started reporting to the credit reference agencies. It is also worth noting that under the various acts (Gas Act, Electricity Act, etc) they are compelled to supply and need not have the benefit of a customer supply agreement which would give them consent to provide the information to the agencies.

Home communications and entertainment accounts can be reported to the credit reference agencies and are reported as a matter of course by some providers, but again not all providers report and this latter group includes some of the UKs biggest providers of Broadband and Pay TV services. TV licence payments are not currently reported to the credit reference agencies.

Insurance accounts are often taken out with an instalment plan and this is a form of credit, effectively a small loan for the full policy amount. However, despite this insurance accounts are only infrequently reported to the credit reference agencies.

Tenancy Agreements are being tested with one of the credit reference agencies, Experian, to show that individuals are able to meet monthly rent payments on time.

Council Tax, although a large monthly or annual outgoing, is a tax and not a form of credit and never appears on credit files.

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