Article by Neil Greenhill - 12th July 2018

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.

As a general rule, if you pay for something in advance (e.g. TV license, insurance) it won’t appear on your Credit Report because it doesn’t count as a form of credit. Should you fail to make these payments on time, you’ll most likely just be cut off from the service. Conversely, if you pay off something that has been given to you (e.g. a mortgage, car finance) then it counts as credit, and will likely appear on your report.

The best way to find out what appears on your Credit Report is to check it yourself. Checkmyfile offers the UK’s only Multi-Agency report, with data from 4 Credit Reference Agencies, not just 1 so you’ll be able to see what’s being reported about you regardless of who’s recording it. You can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, which you can cancel online at any time.

Here we give a brief explanation of when an account will be reported to the credit reference agencies and when it won’t:

Mortgages

If you have an active mortgage or have paid one off in the last six years, you should be able to see it on your Credit Report. If you have an active mortgage and for whatever reason it is not appearing on your report, it may be worth contacting the mortgage provider to find out why.

Credit Cards

You can see the credit history of all open credit card accounts on your Credit Report, along with information from accounts that have been closed within the last six years. Some people think that if they have a card with negative payment information on it, lenders will not be able to see this information if they close the account. In reality, this information is reported for six years from the date of account closure.

Loans

All regulated loans should appear on your Credit Report. The type of loan may also show up on your report, and while in most cases lenders don’t really mind where the information comes from as long as it shows you’ve got a good record of making repayments, some lenders see the presence of a payday loan as a sign of financial issues and may refuse you credit on this basis alone.

Mobile phone contracts

Mobile phone accounts are routinely reported to the Agencies and it is unusual for this type of account to be left unreported. Some providers have now started reporting the line rental and loan as two separate accounts, so it may even appear on your Credit Report twice.

Store cards

Store cards are reported the same way as credit cards, and may even appear as being the same thing on your Credit Report. 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 accounts

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

Debt collectors

Debt Collectors almost always report accounts to the Credit Reference Agencies. Accounts held by Collection Agencies have commonly entered default before the debt and so their entry will also show as defaulted as well.

Before this happens, you will usually see a Debt Collector search appear on your Report.

Car finance

Vehicle Finance agreements usually appear on your Credit File. Some agreements will cover the whole cost of the vehicle, whereas others will only cover the cost of the finance period.

Utility bills

Utility accounts such as Water, Electricity and Gas are only sometimes reported to the Credit Reference Agencies. Most that do only report negative payment markers when a payment is missed and as such paying your utility bills will not contribute towards building your credit history.

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.

TV, internet & landline bills

This type of monthly isn't often shown on your Credit Report, as it's entirely at the discretion of the provider if they choose to do so. As with utility bills, if you miss payments for these services, you’re more likely to just be cut off from the service than get a negative payment marker. TV licence payments are also not currently reported to the Credit Reference Agencies.

Insurance payments

Despite the fact many insurance providers carry out a credit check before you sign up (to validate your details), insurance payments won't always be recorded on your Credit Report by the provider. Accounts are often taken out with an instalment plan and while this is sometimes treated as a form of credit (effectively a small loan for the full policy amount), payments aren't guaranteed to be reported as such.

In some instances these payments can have an impact on a credit rating, but because not all providers report this information the only way to be certain is to check your credit report for yourself.

Rent payments

Until recently tenancy agreements have not contributed towards your Credit History in any way, shape or form. However, pressure in Parliament and some technical innovation has led to a few services offering to act as a ‘middle man’, reporting your rent payments to Credit Reference Agencies every month.

At present only one Credit Reference Agency records this information, so will not appear on all single-agency credit reports. You can still see these payments through checkmyfile’s Multi Agency Credit Report, provided they have been reported and recorded correctly.

Council tax

Council Tax, although a large monthly or annual outgoing, is a tax and not a form of credit and will not appear on your Credit Report.

Why do only some accounts get reported?

Before reporting to the Credit Reference Agencies, each company must first have a reciprocal agreement with one or more of the Agencies, known as the Principles of Reciprocity. Lenders must agree to and adhere to these principles to 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 only glance through the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line, but read through them in full and you may find that by agreeing 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.

However, not all accounts are reported, with the frequency of reporting often varying between and within types of credit agreements.

Older legacy accounts which predate 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.

To see what lenders see or just check what’s reported on you, you can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days and then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, which you can cancel online, by phone or email.

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