Different payment markers on your credit report

Posted by Sophie Regester in Credit Reports on 20 March 2017 - Sophie is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile.

Getting to know the information that appears on your credit report and the markers that represent it is the key to staying on top of your credit report and making sure everything is appearing as it should. By doing this, you'll be in a much better position when you next come to apply for any form of credit or finance.

Markers such as D, DM or DA may look similar, but they all mean entirely different things so it's important to make sure that the markers on your account are an accurate representation of your credit history. Keep reading to find out exactly what each marker means and how lenders are likely to view them.

To get the most detailed credit report in the UK, we provide you with data from 4 Credit Reference Agencies, not just 1. If you haven't yet, you can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, which you can cancel anytime. You'll get full access to your credit report and see what lenders see whichever agency they use.


When you view your credit report the best marker to see is OK. This marker means that the payments for the account in question have been paid and are up to date in line with your credit agreement. Lenders like to see this, because it shows you have got a good history of paying back money that you've borrowed.

S – Settled or Satisfied

If your account has been'Settled' or 'Satisfied', it will appear as the letter S on your credit report. This Means that an account has been closed satisfactorily and no further payments are due. Once an account is recorded in this status, it will continue to feature on your credit file for a 6 year period. After this time period has elapsed the account will automatically be removed within 30 days and will no longer be visible on your file to yourself or lenders.

While a marker showing an account as 'Settled' shows you have a good history of making repayments, if it is shown as 'Satisfied' it means that the full amount has been paid, but only after entering default. While lenders may view a default that has been settled more favourably than one that is still outstanding, the fact that the account entered default in the first place may be enough to deter some lenders.

1 – One Late Payment

A number 1 status confirms that a payment was made late, or you are up to one month behind. One late payment is viewed by most lenders as a relatively minor and common offence due to human nature, so it is unlikely to affect your ability to gain credit.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if a payment is due by a certain date and this date is not met, a late payment can be recorded whether this is made 3 weeks late, 5 days late or one minute late, it doesn't make a difference. Many lenders will not use the late payment marker if payment is made within a certain time frame, and they may have a little wriggle room if extenuating circumstances led to the lateness, but they are not obliged to grant you any favours in this regard. Late is, after all, late.

Arrears Monthly Markers

2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 follow on in a very straight forward pattern - the more consecutive monthly payments missed, the numbers increase. Any of these statuses count as ‘arrears’, the higher the number the more serious the arrears and the more negative the connotation for your credit file and score.

D – Default

D represents ‘Default’, which is the most serious case of arrears that can be recorded. A default is also a form of account closure, meaning that the all-important 6 year reporting period starts from the date of default. That being said in some cases, the account may only be marked as closed when the outstanding balance has been paid and this may depend on the lender or the credit reference agency they have reported to. Regardless of whether a default is recorded as open or closed, if a balance remains outstanding you can still be chased to repay this indefinitely.


DA is used to show ‘Debt Assigned’, this is reported when an account has been sold to a debt collector and the status with the original lender indicates DA to show it has been passed on.

SF & US – Satisfied Fully and Unsatisfied

SF is used to indicate that an account in default has been paid in full but this does not remove the default status, which remains visible in the account history for the full 6 years from the date of default. Paying a default does not reset the six year reporting period. Conversely US indicates an account in default remains outstanding and has not been fully paid.

PS – Partial Settlement

PS is similar to SF but indicates that a ‘Partial Settlement’ has been agreed, i.e. debtor and lender agree to a lesser amount being paid to settle an account where the full balance is unlikely to be paid.

AR – Arrangement to Pay

AR doesn't really fit the trend previously talked about here, it has the same weighting as serious arrears but is the status used when the normal payments on a credit agreement cannot be met. An ‘Arrangement to Pay’ is on the face of things the responsible way to advise a lender that you cannot pay the usual amount specified in your credit agreement, but lenders still consider it to mean your account is in arrears, so it remains a negative marker.

For that reason it's important to think carefully before asking for an Arrangement to Pay as it harms your credit file more than one or two late payments would, and worse still many lenders will not warn you of this. An arrangement can also be recorded when you overpay, because again the payments are not being made in line with your original credit agreement.

Again you may not be warned of this and you may believe you are actually helping your credit file, rather than hurting it by making extra payments.

DM – Debt Management

DM represents Debt Management, debt management plans (DMP) are typically arranged by a third party company or charity who contact and set up regular payments with your creditors. Companies will not do this out of the kindness of their heart, and they'll take a cut of every payment you make. Debt charities, however, will be able to do this free of charge.

VT – Voluntary Termination

VT stands for voluntary termination and is used when an account that was due to run for a longer period is settled early, for example if you take out car finance to run for 3 years and return the car within one you may well see a VT status on the account. The record of a VT status has a neutral connotation and it is not regarded as a negative.

U – Unreported

U stands for ‘Unclassified’, it is often the status recorded when an account is newly opened and the lender does not have any other activity to report on the account. U markers are neutral, so are not regarded positively or negatively by lenders.

Q – Query

Q is for ‘Query’ and is used when an account is under review, usually due to a query between customer and lender regarding the account.

IN – Inactive

IN represents ‘Inactive’ meaning the account is open but is not currently being used. The time it takes for an account to become inactive may vary depending on which lender you are with. While it is a neutral marker, it is there to alert prospective lenders that the account hasn't been used for a sufficiently long period of time, attempting to spend large amounts using this account could be a sign of fraud.

NR – Not Reported

NR is ‘Not Reported’, which indicates that an update has not been provided between the lender and credit reference agency for that month. In the eyes of a prospective lender it means that they cannot tell whether a payment was made or missed, so this is a neutral marker.

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

How long is your credit information really held for

When applying for credit, the majority of lenders will search for your credit files with the Credit Reference Agencies to determine whether they will be willing to lend to you. Any information obtained from the agencies can then be used in the lender’s evaluation of your creditworthiness.

Published on 15 Mar 2018 by Tom Blandford

Full Article

What Credit Searches Mean

One of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of credit files are the credit search footprints left on your report whenever someone accesses your file. One popular misconception is that ‘too many credit searches will put off potential lenders, but the truth is you’d have to make an alarmingly large number of applications for that to happen.

Published on 9 Mar 2018 by Kirstie Brown

Full Article

Arrangement to Pay markers

Have you seen an ‘AR’ mark on your credit file? Chances are you might glance at the letters and assume that they relate to payment arrears. However, on many credit file providers’ reports an ‘AR’ appearing on the payment history means an arrangement to pay has been recorded on the account.

Published on 20 Feb 2018 by Ben Ryland

Full Article

Credit search footprints left by comparison sites

If you’re one of the millions of people who use comparison websites to make sure you’re getting the most competitive insurance quotes, you might have noticed that every time you use a comparison site, you get an increased number of searches on your credit report.

Published on 16 Feb 2018 by Arron Dickens

Full Article

What doesn’t appear on your credit report?

People are often just as surprised at what isn’t reported on their credit file as what is. It can be a bit of a shock when they finally do come to check their report and find that a lot of their spending and earning has gone largely unheralded.

Published on 19 Jan 2018 by Tom Blandford

Full Article


We have loads of great customer reviews