Will checking my credit report affect my credit score

Posted by Kelly Luff in Credit Reports on 5 April 2018 - Kelly is a Marketing Executive at checkmyfile

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.

If the only thing stopping you from checking your credit file is fear it will affect your score, you can relax, because it won't.

You can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, safe in the knowledge that your credit score won’t be affected. You’ll get full access to the UK’s most detailed credit report, along with support from our friendly, professionally-qualified analysts.

What searches do affect my score?

The confusion arises from the fact that there are different types of credit search. The searches conducted by potential lenders are usually application searches, known as hard searches. If you make a large number of credit applications in a very short space of time, you’re likely to trigger a fraud warning on your credit file, which will make getting credit very difficult.

However when you view your own credit file, a different type of search is used: this is called an audit search. Audit searches and enquiry searches, which are used most commonly by landlords, employers and insurance comparison websites are often called soft searches, because they do not have an affect on your credit file.

That means even though you can see soft searches on your credit file, you can check your report as often as you like without it impacting your credit score or your ability to take out credit.

Why do my own credit searches appear on my report?

Your own searches aren’t seen by lenders, so you may wonder why they appear on your credit report at all.

Credit Reference Agencies have to place these markers on your credit report when they perform an enquiry, to show that they have accessed your personal report data.

If you notice access has been made to your credit report from an agency without your knowledge, it could potentially show that someone accessed your credit file fraudulently. You can then see which agency made the request and when, so you can contact them and taken any further action as required.

Your credit report can be a powerful defence against would-be fraudsters, and checking to see if any audit searches or new forms of credit have appeared on your file without you noticing is an effective way to spot any issues before they can cause any serious problems.

When you sign up with a comparison service you will often see searches with all of the insurance companies and brokers that gave you a quote – this is purely because they will have wanted to check your publicly held information, such as Electoral Roll listings to verify your identity. However, in some rare circumstances, an enquiry search may be carried out by comparison sites.

You can ask the company performing these checks to cease making them, as it is often found that they are repeated at least annually by lenders looking to send you offers to tempt you away from your current supplier. This can, however, be time consuming and as they don’t make any difference to your credit score it is optional as to whether you decide to invest resources into stopping them.

The only type of enquiry or audit that can be taken into account by lenders are those performed by debt collectors – they can show a potential lender that there may be a history of unpaid debts that no longer show within your 6 years of credit history.

Updated 05/04/2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

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