Your credit report is one of the most important factors considered when deciding which kind of financial products you are eligible for. Learn how they function and how to address any issues that may arise.

Where can I find a copy of my credit report?

Consider your credit report to be your financial curriculum vitae. It comprises information that assists lenders in verifying your identity and determining whether you are a trustworthy borrower or not.

This includes the specifics of any credit accounts that you have previously held, as well as your present and prior addresses, as well as any financial ties that you have, such as the name of the person with whom you have a joint account.

Commercial organisations known as credit reference agencies are the ones responsible for compiling credit reports.

Because lenders do not always share the same information with all three main credit reference agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — there is a good chance that your credit report will come in three slightly different versions.

Why should I examine the report on my credit profile?

You will have a credit report if you are at least 18 years old and if you have ever entered into a credit agreement of any kind, whether it be a mortgage, an overdraft, or a contract for a mobile phone.

You should make it a habit to check your credit report at least once a year, and you should always do so before applying for new credit.

Not only will you be able to pick up on any faults that could limit your chances of receiving the finest credit deals as a result of this, but you will also be able to pick up on any fraudulent credit applications that have been filed in your name as a result of this.

Because the information that is stored on you by the various credit reference organisations may be different, it is in your best interest to verify all three of them.

You won’t ever be punished for reviewing your report, so you are free to do it whenever you wish without fear of repercussions.

Is it possible to get a free copy of my credit report?

You will not be required to pay the previously required fee of £2 in order to view your information. On the other hand, there are a number of services that may assist you in comprehending the data that is included in your report.

Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are by far the three credit reporting agencies that are utilised by lenders the most frequently. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has granted permission to offer credit reference services to approximately 25 different organisations.

A little more than half of those who responded to our study in 2019 were under the impression that all CRAs store the same information about you. However, this is not the case because not all lenders share their customers’ information with all CRAs. Because of this, you should check your report with the three primary CRAs that are available.

Experian

Through the Money Saving Expert Credit Club, you will have the opportunity to obtain free access to your Experian credit report.

You also have the option of signing up for a free trial of Experian’s CreditExpert service for a period of thirty days; if you do not cancel your subscription, subsequent months will cost you fourteen pounds and ninety-nine pence.

Equifax

When you sign up for Clearscore, you will receive a free copy of your Equifax report each month.

Equifax, just like Experian, provides potential customers with a free trial of its whole credit monitoring service for a period of thirty days. After the initial one month free trial, the regular price is $7.95 per month.

TransUnion

Credit Karma is a service that provides users with free access to the credit reports that are provided by TransUnion.

What kinds of information are contained in credit reports?

A portion of the data contained in your credit report will have been provided by financial institutions, such as financial institutions, building societies, and credit card firms, from whom you have borrowed money in the past or to which you presently owe money.

Other information that could be included in your credit file could have originated from sources that are open to the public (such voter registration databases), or it could have been submitted by firms that provide your utilities.

Included information is your name, address, and date of birth, as well as a statement indicating whether or not your present residence is listed on the electoral roll.
how much money you still owe as of right now lenders
any delinquent payments made on current or previous accounts for credit cards or loans
any overdue payments on existing or previously opened accounts
any County Court Judgments (CCJs) that have been issued against you, regardless of whether your property has been repossessed or whether you have moved away owing money, regardless of whether you have been declared bankrupt or whether you have entered into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).
The quantity of money in your checking account does not take into consideration the following:
accounts that are funded by your salary
student loans
criminal record
the past of medicine
parking or driving fines
a backlog of unpaid council tax

There are millions of people living in the UK who have what is referred to as a “thin credit file,” which indicates that there is not a lot of information about them. Because of this, it may be difficult for businesses to verify their identification and determine whether or not they will be able to fulfil the terms of a credit agreement.

What kind of an effect do inaccuracies have on one’s credit report?

Even a minor mistake could have significant repercussions and prevent you from obtaining the most favourable interest rates when you borrow money.

Mistakes can range from something as simple as an inaccuracy in the specifics of your address to inaccurate information provided by your bank or energy provider, all of which have the potential to discourage another company from extending credit to you.

According to Experian, missed payments remain on your record for up to six years and are the most common entry people dispute. In fact, Experian reports that missed payments account for just under a quarter of the inquiries it receives.

If a lender continues to pursue you for a missing payment, even if you are not liable for it, you run the risk of having a default recorded on your report or possibly a County Court Judgement being issued against you. This can happen even if you are not responsible for the missed payment.

What steps do I need to take to fix the errors on my credit report?

If you find an error on one of your credit files, it is imperative that you have it fixed as soon as possible since, if you don’t, it could hurt your ability to obtain credit in the future.

To have an error on your credit report fixed, you can either get in touch with the company that originally submitted the information or the credit reference bureau itself.

If you decide to proceed through the CRA instead of another organisation, the CRA will communicate with the lender on your behalf. This is something that will be done automatically by both TransUnion and Equifax, although Experian will only do it if you specifically ask it to. It notes that contacting the lender directly can sometimes make the process go more quickly.

After receiving your request, the agency has twenty-eight days to inform you whether it has removed the entry, changed it, or taken no action at all. While this is being investigated, the entry will be flagged as contested. Any potential lender who reviews your file will see this and know that they should not rely on that particular piece of information.

Unfortunately, there is no assurance that an error will be rectified even if the CRA requests permission from the lender to do so. In the event that it does not, and your records are not brought up to date, the next thing you can do is add something to your file that is known as a “notice of correction,” which gives you the opportunity to explain in 200 words why the error is there.

You can use this to explain why you believe a certain piece of information is incorrect or to emphasise any mitigating circumstances, such as an unexpected death in the family that may have caused you to miss a payment on a credit card or loan.

How much time will it take to correct the inaccuracies on my credit report?

Companies are expected to repair inaccuracies contained in your personal data ‘without undue delay’ according to the principles of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but some Which? members have told us that it took months before their report was corrected.

Even while credit reporting agencies are required to respond to your inquiries within a month, they are unable to correct your credit records until the lender issues the update. If the corporation refuses to engage with you, the error may continue to exist for months at a time, keeping you in a state of uncertainty.

If you borrow from BNPL, will it show up on your credit report?

There has been inconsistency in the manner in which short-term “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) credit deals, also known as “deferred-payment credit” accounts, have been reported to credit reference bureaus. BNPL credit transactions are also known as “buy now, pay later” credit deals.

For instance, the pay in 30 days feature offered by Klarna does not yet leave any sign of your borrowing on your credit report, however the laybuy feature does leave a trace.

On the other hand, this will be subject to change. According to Experian, consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) will soon begin including information about any short-term BNPL arrangements you take out in your credit report; however, it is not yet clear how this will affect your credit score.

According to Experian, BNPL lenders are anticipated to start sharing this information with CRAs rather soon. As a result, this information should start appearing on your credit report “before the end of the year.”

It is estimated that it will take between 12 and 18 months for credit reference agencies and lenders to update the credit scoring systems they use once the information has been added to credit reports.

Can payment holidays be removed from my credit report due to the Coronavirus?

Borrowers who were having trouble dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic were given assistance in the form of payment vacations in March of 2020.

According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), businesses are not permitted to record individuals who are in receipt of a payment vacation as having a missed payment on their credit report until the 31st of January, 2021.

Borrowers who have reached the maximum limit of payment deferrals should be offered “tailored support.” Although this may be reflected on your credit file, lenders are required to always warn you as soon as this becomes a possibility.