In the UK Credit Reference Agencies are responsible for maintaining a history of data that is submitted to them from your lenders who you hold an account with.
The information is usually stored for six years and this applies even when an account is closed, defaulted or settled.
The types of Information a Credit Reference Agency records can include the following: –
- The Credit Limit on the account.
- How much of your Credit Limit has been used.
- Whether you have any financial associations. For example a joint account with a partner.
- How much you owe.
- Your repayment history, for example whether a payment has been made on time or has been late.
- Information about what type of account. For example a personal loan or bank account.
- Information from public sources such as details of any County Court Judgments or Bankruptcy.
The above is not an exhaustive list and is intended to provide examples of the types of information included on your credit report.
Who are the Credit Reference Agencies?
In the UK there are four Credit Reference Agencies and they are called: –
Not all information is reported to all four of these Credit Reference Agencies at the same time so information say from Experian may be different from the information on your Callcredit report.
Can you check your Credit Report?
You can and there are a number of ways to do this. There is the Statutory route where you write in to each Credit Reference Agency and ask for a copy of your report. The fee currently is £2. This is the slowest method.
Another method is online. There are a number of places you can do this. You may want to look at my post which talks about how to get a free Credit Report or read about my Noddle Review.
Either way the information is easily accessible and therefore you can check your credit report if the need arises. Usually if you have recently failed a credit check then one of the suggestions a lender will make is to check your credit report. They may also give other hints such as you failed based on affordability which means they think you already have too much credit or you don’t earn enough for example.
What affect do the Credit Reference Agencies have?
Let’s say you make an application for credit with your Bank for a loan. Part of their application will tell you that a Credit Check will be carried out. What this means is that when you make the application, your bank will check with usually two of the above Credit Reference Agencies to see what data there is about you.
The bank will then make an assessment of this information along with the information on your application then reach a decision. The important thing to note here is that the Credit Reference Agency only provides the data, they do not make any decisions at all.
If you failed the credit check typical reasons might be: –
- You are not on the Electoral Roll.
- You have a poor credit history.
- You made a mistake on the application form.
The important thing to do is to find out why you have failed before carrying on with further applications. If you feel something on your credit report might be responsible then definitely consider getting a copy of it to rule it out as a potential issue.
In an ideal world it is prudent to check your credit report beforehand to avoid any potential issues later on.