Credit report


Your credit report (or credit file) is a document issued by a credit bureau, that contains a record of your credit history and your personal details, including your address and employment history.

When you apply for credit, prospective lenders will view your credit report to assess your creditworthiness.

Negative information recorded on your file (i.e. missed payments, defaults or CCJs), will impact your Credit Score, and can make it more difficult to get accepted for credit.


What’s on my credit report?

Your credit report holds the following information about you:

  • Personal details (name, date of birth, current and previous addresses)
  • Details of your credit accounts (bank accounts, credit cards, outstanding loan arrangements)
  • Public record information (CCJs, bankruptcies, Repossession)
  • Electoral register (whether you are on an electoral roll)
  • Criminal convictions (any acts of fraud)
  • Financial links (someone you share a joint account with e.g. spouse)


How to check your credit report

Each year, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the 3 main credit agencies:

You can also apply to receive a monthly report, but you’ll usually be charged after the first copy.

The simplest way to receive your free credit report is to request a copy online, however you can also request a copy via telephone or post.

If you choose to request your report via post, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • National insurance number
  • Address history (past 6 years)
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • An acceptable form of personal identification


Who can access my credit report?

When you apply for credit, prospective lenders will be able to access your credit report to help them determine your eligibility for the loan.

But it’s not just lenders that can access your credit report. Banks, utility companies, landlords, government agencies and collection agencies can also view your credit report.

Although if these organisations conduct a credit search, it’s normally a Soft Search, so won’t leave a footprint on your credit file.


How often should I check my credit report?

It’s a good idea to check your credit report regularly, as this will enable you to respond to any issues quickly.

For example, you may have missed a few payments without realising or there may be errors on your report that are having a negative impact on your credit score.

You should also check your report before you make a credit application, as the strength of your credit profile is key to determining your eligibility for a loan, and the Interest Rates available to you.

If your credit score is not as good as you thought, it may be worth waiting a few months while you repair it. This will help you to receive better rates, so your cost of credit will be lower.


How to dispute an error on your credit report

Sometimes mistakes can appear on your credit report and unless they are corrected, it can be damaging to your credit score.

If you believe the information on your credit report is incorrect, you’ll need to inform the credit bureau that issued your report.

The simplest way to do this, is to complete an online form provided by the relevant credit bureau:

You should also contact the company that provided the information to the credit bureau (the furnisher).

This could be your bank, a debt collector or credit card company.

You’ll need to provide your personal details and information linked to your account (i.e. your account number), and information regarding the item being disputed.

Once the credit bureau receives your query, they’ll investigate the dispute and determine whether the error is legitimate.

If it’s a genuine mistake, the information will be removed from your credit report and you should receive confirmation of the changes.

The furnisher should also notify all other credit reporting companies holding the incorrect information, so they can update their records accordingly.

If your dispute is rejected by the credit bureau, you should receive notice of this decision within 5 days of your submission.

If you disagree with the decision, you can request a statement of dispute to be added to your credit file. This will be visible on your current and future credit reports.

You can also request the credit bureau to provide a statement to lenders that hold past copies of your report, however there is usually a fee for this service.


Your rights under the Financial Conduct Authority

All credit reference agencies are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA aims to promote fairness and protect consumers within the financial market.

You can access your rights relating to your credit information, and how agencies report on your information here.


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