What Information Is On My Credit Report?

Posted by Paul Anderson-Riley in Credit Reports on 4 January 2019 - Paul is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

If you’ve ever taken out a loan, credit card, or other form of finance, you’ll know that the difference between acceptance and rejection relies heavily on the outcome of what the lender finds when it checks your Credit Report.

But do you know what your own Credit Report says about you, or the sheer amount of information that lenders can access?

The information within your Credit Report isn’t a closed book – you’re free to look at it yourself whenever you wish. Indeed, checkmyfile was the first company in the UK to give consumers online access to their Credit Reports back in 2000 and provides the most detailed service today – with data from all four Credit Reference Agencies together.

Although every lender has its own acceptance criteria and things it looks for in a customer, each will use the information contained within your Credit Report to come to a decision, alongside other checks such as affordability.

The only way to know what information you’ll be judged on is to check for yourself. You can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards. You’ll get complete access to the UK’s most detailed Credit Report, with information from 4 Credit Reference Agencies, not just 1.

Payment History

First and foremost, your Credit Report shows whether payments have been made on time on existing (and previous) credit agreements such as credit cards, loans, mortgages and car finance. Occasionally you may also see insurance, utilities, mobile phone payments or banking products appearing as well, as many of these organisations also share information with the UK’s Credit Reference Agencies.

The Payment History section of your checkmyfile Credit Report shows how you have maintained agreements past and present, as reported by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion as well as the current balance, credit limit and details relating to when the account was opened and closed. Any late payments, arrears, or defaults are shown month-by-month.

Credit account information typically stays on your Credit Report for six years from the date of account closure. Similarly, payment history older than this on accounts that are still open will be removed after that time.

Most lenders like to see a history of payments being made on time, because it serves as a strong indicator that you’re likely to repay any future agreements on time. As such, it’s important to check that the information in this section is 100% accurate.

Address History

Your Credit Report will show a list of addresses that are linked to you, either via a lender changing an address on an existing account or by an application being made for credit there – it will also show where the link originated. The presence of linked addresses will not directly impact your Creditworthiness and are simply there to make it easier for lenders to find the information.

The exact format that your address appears on your Credit Report in will influence how easy it is for a prospective lender to find your information, so it’s important to make sure it appears on your report in the correct format, and is consistent.

Electoral Roll information

Your Electoral Roll (also known as the voters roll or electoral register) listing is another crucial part of your Credit Report. It allows lenders to verify you at your address more easily, and is an indicator of stability. If you have a particularly ‘thin’ Credit Report – i.e. not many credit accounts – then being listed on the Electoral Roll becomes even more vital.

Electoral Roll information sits within the Public section of your Credit Report and so can also be seen by smaller lenders, employers and landlords.

Associations and Aliases

When you apply for a joint financial product with another person, a financial association will be created. Even if the application is declined or you do not accept the product that is offered, the association will appear on your Credit Report. This remains in place on your file even after the account has been closed or the agreement comes to an end, unless you take steps to remove it.

Lenders will typically search any reported financial associates’ Credit Report as well as your own as part of your credit application, on the basis that they could influence your ability to repay. For that reason, it’s important to know who you are linked to and to check that the association is valid.

To remove a financial association, you would need to lodge a Notice of Disassociation (after closing the account in question) with each of the Credit Reference Agencies - something we can do on behalf of checkmyfile subscribers.

Aliases

An alias will be reported if you use or have used a different name and will be listed in the Financial Associations section of your checkmyfile Credit Report. Most commonly, this reflects a change of name bought about by marriage, deed poll or divorce, but occasionally a misspelling or slight variation could also be reflected as a different name. In rare circumstances this can happen in error, so unless you check your report you might not be aware of it.

Aliases are used to help lenders keep track of a person’s name and to link their Credit History to their new name, similarly to the way that previous addresses are listed. It also means that someone can’t escape an existing credit agreement simply by changing their name.

Court and Insolvency Records

There are number of different records that could show in this section, including: County Court Judgments (CCJ), Scottish Decrees , Summary Court Judgments, Bankruptcy, Sequestration, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA)/Deeds of Arrangement, Trust Deeds, Debt Relief Orders and Debt Arrangement Schemes. It is important to take note of this section as even an unpaid parking ticket could escalate to the extent that it results in a CCJ.

Again, this information is also part of your public Credit Report and so will be visible to smaller lenders, landlords and employers.

Searches

There are a few different types of search footprint reflected on Credit Reports – sometimes simply referred to as soft and hard searches or credit applications, enquiries and audits. Typically only credit applications would impact your creditworthiness, as they reflect an actual application for credit. Enquiries and audits typically relate to background searches or where you have shopped around for credit/insurance.

Search footprints are primarily there for you to keep an eye on who has been accessing your Credit Report. If there are entries you don’t recognise, in rare cases it could be an early warning that someone is attempting to commit identity theft and apply for credit in your name.

Lenders won’t be able to see who you have applied for credit with, or the outcome of the application, but they will be able to see that you have applied. Searches stay on your Credit Report for between 1-2 years before being removed automatically.

Fraud Warnings

The most common type of fraud warning displayed on a credit file is a Cifas fraud alert. Cifas has more than 400 members in the UK and assists with fraud prevention. A Cifas entry on a Credit Report is there to warn prospective lenders that you may be vulnerable to fraudulent attempts to obtain credit in your name.

Having a Cifas Entry on your Credit Report will mean that applications you make yourself may take longer, and you may have to provide additional proof that you are who you say you are when you go to apply for credit, but is designed as a fraud prevention measure.

You can also opt to add a Notice of Correction to your Credit Report to explain that you have been the victim of fraud. This forces lenders to manually assess applications for credit, rather than processing them automatically and so again, can help prevent fraudulent applications.

Notices of correction

Notices of Correction have also been used in the past to explain the circumstances behind credit problems. Though lenders are obliged to manually look at the Notice of Correction, it is highly unlikely that it will influence the outcome of an application for credit, and will simply delay it.

If you’ve added a Notice of Correction to your Credit Report in the past but haven’t asked for it to be removed, it’s likely to still be present - they remain indefinitely until you request their removal. You may find you have trouble getting accepted for automated forms of credit (such as store cards or store finance) while this is in-place because the manual checks usually need to be verified by someone qualified.

Additional Information

Your checkmyfile Credit Report contains other information in addition to your main Credit Report data, drawn from a number of different sources. This includes:

Sanctions

If you have been listed as a financial sanction target a company cannot to do business with you. If this is the case, it will be listed on your Credit Report so it can be easily found by prospective lenders.

Politically Exposed Persons

If you are a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) or have a relative that is, this can appear on your Credit Report. This is designed to ensure that an additional level of care is taken when processing an application for credit where a PEP marker is present, especially if the person in question is in a position that is deemed possibly more at risk from dealing with large amounts of money or sensitive information.

Disclosure of Death Registration Information

This simply allows you to check if you have been reported as dead, which strange as it sounds is designed to prevent credit being taken out in bid to reduce fraud. If you are find such an entry on your own Credit Report whilst alive and well, chances are that there has been an administrative error somewhere.

If you haven’t checked your Credit Report in the past, or you haven’t for a while, it’s well worth checking to make sure that everything is appearing as it should. Even if you’re not planning on applying for any form of credit, it may take a little time for amendments to appear on your Credit Report.

You can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, which you can cancel online, by phone or by email. You’ll get complete access to the UK’s most detailed Credit Report, plus support & insights from our professionally-qualified Credit Analysts if you have any questions or need help with anything on your report.

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