Accessing your credit report for Free
One of the first things you should do if you are struggling with debts and want to begin the process of dealing with them, is get a copy of your credit report.
This report contains the information that the UK’s three main credit reference agencies hold on you and creditors can access, with your consent, when deciding whether to lend to you.
They are also an important source of information for you in identifying who your creditors are.
What information do credit reports hold on you?
Credit reports contain a variety of information about you which lenders are interested in and, therefore, want to ensure it is correct.
This type of information kept on you, includes:
Your name and address (including previous addresses) and date of birth.
Details of any credit agreements you have entered, including details of credit cards, personal loans, and utility accounts. There will also be information on how long you have had them, how much you owe and details of any missed or late payments. There will also be information on any arrears or Default Notices that have been issued. This information stays on your credit report for 6 years.
Electoral register information:
Details of whether you are registered on the electoral register.
Public record information:
Details of whether you have had any court decrees granted against you (CCJs in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) and whether you have been declared bankrupt, entered a protected trust deed, or had a property repossessed. This information stays on your credit report for six years.
Information on financial associates:
This is information on anyone you are linked to financially and could be a spouse, but could also be anyone else who is living at your address with your name. If you are not linked to them financially you can ask they are removed from your report, using what is known as a Notice of Disassociation. This can be useful where the other person’s credit report is having a detrimental effect on yours.
Cifas Entries or Markers:
These are placed on your credit report for your protection and are added where you have been the victim of fraud or you have requested a marker be added as you believe you are at risk of fraud.
There are two types of Cifas markers:
A Protective Registration:
This is an entry you can add yourself if you believe you are at risk of fraud and is paid for service. It lasts two years. You can apply for this to be added from the Cifas website.
A Victim of Impersonation registration:
This is added by your lender if you have been the victim of identity fraud and lasts for 13 months.
Both registrations are for your protection.
How do you Access your Credit Report?
The easiest way to access you credit report is to do so online. By law everyone is entitled to a Statutory Credit Report, which can cost £2, but is now provided free by the three main credit reference agencies and a number of intermediary firms.
The three main credit reference agencies in the UK are
Alternatively, you can access your credit report free through intermediary services, such as Noddle (which uses information provided by Transunion) and Credit Score (who use information provided by Equifax).
The advantages of using these intermediary services is not only are they free, but they update your information monthly and provide Apps that can be downloaded onto smart phone.
Other ways to check your Credit Report
You can also check your credit report by registering with Credit Karma (who use Transunion information); Clearscore (who use information provided by Equifax; and Experian (download the App from App Store or Google Play)
What is the difference between a Credit Report and a Credit Score?
Credit scores are how the different credit reference agencies named above score you in terms of risk. The scores for the different firms and are intended to give lenders an idea of how risky you would be to lend to. Generally, the lower the number, the higher the risk. Experian, Equifax and Transunion (Callcredit) have different scoring systems.
Whether a lender lends to you is up to them, as all lenders have their own attitudes and whereas one lender may not be prepared to lend to you because they see you as too great a risk, another may be willing to do so. The risk you present, however, many be reflected in how much they lend you and at the terms they are prepared to do so on.
The credit scoring system for the three main Agencies are below (*the narrative for each score is for guidance only)
Experian Credit Score
|Score||Rating||*What are your chances?|
|961-999||Excellent||You have an excellent credit rating, although not guaranteed, your highly likely to be accepted when applying for credit.|
|881-960||Good||Applications for credit are likely to be accepted, but not you may not possibly be offered the best interest rates.|
|721-880||Fair||You may find your credit limit will be set quite low and your interest rates won’t be the most competitive.|
|561-720||Poor||You may be successful in applying for credit, but if you are successful it may come with high interest rates.|
|0-560||Very Poor||You are likely to be rejected for credit.|
Equifax Credit Score
|Score||Rating||*What are your chances?|
|466-700||Excellent||Your in a very good position and likely to get the best deals available.|
|420-465||Good||Don’t expect the best deals, but your applications are likely to succeed.|
|380-419||Fair||You may have to shop around, you might succeed in getting your applications accepted, but then you might not.|
|280-379||Poor||If you are successful, expect to pay for it in the interest rates you get.|
|0-279||Very Poor||Unfortunately, you are not likely to be successful in getting credit.|
Transunion Credit Score
|Score||Rating||*What it Means|
|750 and Above||Excellent||A rating within the top banding indicates that you are likely to be accepted for credit and can take advantage of the best deals available in the market.|
|700-749||Good||A rating within this banding means you’re more likely to be accepted when applying for credit than rejected, and are in a position to choose between different credit providers who view you as a low risk.|
|650-699||Fair||A rating within this banding means you are as likely to be rejected as you are to be accepted. You will in all probability be unable to access the best deals.|
|550-649||Poor||A rating in this banding means you will usually be rejected for credit by most lenders.|
|550 and Below||Bad||A rating in this banding means you will struggle to access credit and where you do access it, it will be on high cost terms.|