Search types and their effect on your credit score

Posted by Neil Greenhill in Credit Reports on 13 January 2017 - Neil is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

The effect of a search on your credit score or ability to obtain credit depends on the type of search recorded, how many searches have been recorded and even who is recording them.

There are three main types of search of which the most important are arguably credit application searches (credit searches). Credit searches are generally recorded where there is an application for credit, either a new account, an extension of an existing account or in some instances where an account is renewed (for instance where you upgrade a mobile phone contract).

Credit searches are taken into account when lenders decide an application, however their impact is often overstated. Too few Credit searches can indicate that you are not credit active, whereas too many in a short period of time can indicate desperation for credit. Different lenders will place a different emphasis on the number of searches on your credit file when they assess your credit applications.

In terms of your credit score, the optimum number of searches is around 10 per year – however we would never recommend that you apply for credit that you neither want nor need simply to increase the number of searches on your report.

Enquiries are generally recorded by existing lenders when checking a product is still suitable and by prospective lenders prior to an application where a “soft search” is offered by the lender. Solicitors and some lenders may use Enquiry searches as part of statutory money laundering checks which they may have to conduct, please be assured these are normally routine and don’t indicate you are suspected of money laundering.

Enquiries can also relate to tenancy and employment checks. In general these searches are not taken into account when your credit applications are decided, however the exception is where a search has been made by a debt collector. A lender may decline to assist you on the basis of an enquiry recorded by a debt collector.

Audit entries are recorded for all other accesses of your credit file, for instance when checking your credit report yourself. These entries are not even seen by prospective lenders and have no impact on your credit score or ability to obtain credit.

Most of the time the searches recorded on your credit file will reflect your own credit activity, whether that is an application for credit, a tenancy or job or an ongoing credit agreement you already have. Some however may take you by surprise, for instance where a debt collector has run an enquiry to try and locate an individual which owes an outstanding debt. Another common situation where searches may be unexpected is where an online comparison site has been used to look for a credit product such as a car insurance. Often a large number of enquiries (and sometimes audits) will have been created where such a service is used because a number of credit providers are checked at once. Further some online comparison sites will rerun the searches on the anniversary of your use of their site (so they can send further personalised promotional material when you are next expected to renew). If you contact the comparison site that you previously used you can request the removal of your consent for any further searches of this type to be carried out, which will prevent these ongoing audits and enquiries from appearing on your credit file.

If a credit search is entirely unexpected, we would recommend that you contact the lender directly for information on why the search has been run. It is important to regularly check your credit searches to ensure you recognise them – this can help alert you to any potentially fraudulent activity.

Finally, it is worth noting how long the various forms of search can remain on your credit file. Credit application searches will drop off your credit file after different lengths of time with each agency. Typically Callcredit, Equifax and Crediva retain searches for 2 years, while Experian reports searches for 1 year. It is entirely up to the individual credit reference agencies as to how long these searches are retained on their records. Enquiries typically remain on your file for 1-2 years, except those made by debt collectors, which remain for 6 years.

Check Your Multi-Agency Credit Report

30 Day Free Trial

Can my ex impact on my credit score

One of the most common queries we receive at checkmyfile comes from customers who view their Credit Report and discover that they’re still financially associated with an ex-partner.

Published on 2 Aug 2018 by George Coburn

Full Article

What Do Lenders Look For When You Apply For Credit?

Lenders and their appetite for, well, lending, are as unique as the customers they serve. Each one is looking for specific criteria from their target customers in exactly the same way that most of those customers try to select a lender that best suits their individual requirements. That’s one of the reasons you shouldn’t think your hopes of getting a loan rest with your Credit Score alone: you need to think about the context and reasons behind it as well. Each piece of information on your Credit Report – and the sum of its parts – can be interpreted so differently.

Published on 25 Jul 2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article

Which accounts will show on your credit file

Credit account information relies on lenders to report those accounts to the UK’s Credit Reference Agencies. Not all types of account will appear on Credit Reports for this reason, so while some regular monthly payments will show up there, many others won’t.

Published on 12 Jul 2018 by Neil Greenhill

Full Article

What are Satisfied and Settled Credit Accounts?

What's the difference between Settled and Satisfied on your Credit Report?

Your Credit Report contains a huge amount of information about you, and how you’ve managed your credit agreements in the past. Different parts of your report will have a different level of influence on how you will be judged by a typical lender, but there are some entries where a small variation can have a big difference.

Published on 2 Jul 2018 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

How my address can influence a credit check

Many people incorrectly assume that their credit score can be plagued by the previous occupants of your address. This, to quote Douglas Adams, is “a load of dingos’ kidneys” and your credit report should entirely reflect your credit and repayment history and has no bearing on your home’s former tenants.

Published on 12 Jun 2018 by George Coburn

Full Article

How To Remove Negative Markers on Your Credit Report

Your credit report is intended to show potential lenders, employers, landlords (and occasionally insurance providers) an accurate representation of what you are like when it comes to borrowing (and repaying) money and managing other credit agreements. Think of it as a CV of your borrowing history that gets updated on your behalf.

Published on 21 Apr 2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article

Why Does My Credit File Say I'm Dead?

For many people, it comes as a shock when they are informed that they are, regrettably, dead. In fact, it can be a downright inconvenience when you’re trying to apply for credit, but end up getting turned down because you’ve been accidentally listed on the Death Register.

Published on 11 Apr 2018 by Tom Blandford

Full Article

Will checking my credit report affect my credit score

Does checking your credit report affect your credit score? This is a question we are often asked, as more and more consumers regularly access their credit history to check for errors. This seems to be based on the popular misconception that search footprints damage your score, and as checking your credit file leaves a footprint, checking your report must harm your score. However, this is far from the truth.

Published on 5 Apr 2018 by Kelly Luff

Full Article

What are address links and why are they on my file

At first the sheer amount of historic information held by Credit Reference Agencies can seem daunting when seen for the first time. This is certainly true for address links, which show all current and historic addresses recorded for you, as well as additional addresses that lenders think may be linked to you. But you can rest easy, because they're nothing to fear.

Published on 24 Mar 2018 by George Coburn

Full Article

How to Change Wrong Information on Your Credit Report

Making sure you have the right information on your credit report is essential, not just if you want to apply for any form of finance, but also because potential landlords and employers may want to check your information as well. But even if you think you’ve maintained a perfect credit history, the number of different sources of data that the UK’s four Credit Reference Agencies draw from leaves plenty of room for errors.

Published on 19 Mar 2018 by Katherine Cornell

Full Article


We have loads of great customer reviews