Where can I find help and advice on understanding my credit file?

Approved by the Car Finance Advisory Board

Your credit file is one of the most important documents that will ever be associated with you. We get asked a lot of questions about what can affect credit files, and learning what will positively or negatively affect credit histories that will result in a stronger file overall. Read on to find out how to understand and check your credit file.

How can I check what’s on my credit file?

If you want to understand your credit file better, it’s possible to request a report of your credit file from the three main credit agencies in the UK - Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. This report will include everything from address history to the amount of credit you have access to. A credit report will usually display the most important information from your credit file in an easily-digestible and readable format.

What's a credit score?

A credit score - also referred to as a 'credit rating' - is issued alongside your credit file by the three main credit agencies, and represents how good or bad your credit file may be. Each agency will provide a different score for your credit, based on the information they have on file. Though each agency uses different rules and assigns different ranges to illustrate their credit scores, the higher your score, the better your credit.

How long is information recorded on my credit file?

When you check your credit file, you'll notice that open accounts stay on your file indefinitely. Once you’ve closed an account, that information will stay on your credit file for 6 years, and then be removed. However, if an account defaults, the default mark will stay on your credit file for 6 years from the default date, even if it has been settled.

What is a credit search and what does this do to my credit file?

Every time you apply for credit (for example, car finance) the lender you’re applying to will run a search on your credit file. This is so as they can see your credit history, as well as determine whether you’re a high or low risk to lend to.

Every credit search on your file will leave a mark which is visible to other lenders who you might apply to later down the line, so it’s always a good idea to not apply to a large amount of lenders in a short space of time. This could indicate to lenders that you're a substantial risk and result in a lower chance of getting the credit you need.

What else can affect my credit rating?

The Creditplus Credit Clinic has been designed to provide all the information you need to better understand your credit rating. We cover what each of the five ratings mean, what can cause your credit rating to be bad, potential steps you can take to improve your credit rating, and also list resources you can get in touch with should you have any more concerns over your credit rating. Head over to the Credit Clinic to find out more

Published: 16/05/2016
Last Updated:31/01/2019
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