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What is a credit report?

By Rob Goodman

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What is a credit report?

Your credit report – also known as your credit file – consists of information about your past financial behaviour.


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Video transcript

[MUSIC] There's more than one version of your credit report. That's because not all lenders share data with all three major agencies, Callcredit, Equifax and Experian. So it's worth checking your report from each one. [MUSIC] The most recent information on your report is the most important.

Account data stays in your report for up to six years, but an old mispayment is unlikely to scupper your chances at getting credit as lenders are most interested in your current financial circumstances. Regularly checking your report is a great idea, it can help you to spot if someone has made a fraudulent application in your name or if they're any mistakes that might reduce your chances of getting the best credit deals.

For more information visit report [SOUND]

The video above explains three key facts you need to know about your credit report.

Every time you apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage, your credit report will be used to help lenders decide whether your application should be approved or rejected. 

If accepted, the information in your credit report will also determine the interest rate you pay. 

Go further: Which? Money Compare credit card comparison tables – compare hundreds of deals to find the right one for you

How can I access my credit report?

There are three credit reference agencies in the UK: CallCredit, Equifax and Experian. These commercial organisations all compile information about you and will supply this to a lender when you apply for credit.

There are likely to be three slightly different ‘versions’ of your credit report. This is because lenders don’t always share the same information with all three credit reference agencies.

For this reason, when it comes to checking your credit report, it’s important to examine the information held on you by CallCredit, Equifax and Experian – not just a single agency. Regularly checking your credit report is also key way to protect yourself from identity fraud, so make sure you do so at least once a year.

Credit reports: what information is included?

Some of the information held in your credit report will come from banks, building societies and credit card companies you have borrowed from in the past, or that you currently owe money to. Other facts on your credit file may come from publicly available sources (such as the electoral register) or be supplied by utility companies.

Specifically, your credit report will contain details of when you have borrowed money and whether you have repaid it on time. Your credit report is likely to include the following information:

  • your name, address and date of birth
  • whether you are on the electoral roll at your current address
  • how much you currently owe lenders
  • any late payments on existing or past credit card or loan accounts
  • any missed payments on existing or past accounts
  • any County Court Judgments (CCJs) made against you
  • whether your home has been repossessed or you have moved away owing money
  • whether you have been declared bankrupt or entered into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).

It won't include the following information:

  • the amount of money in your current account
  • your salary
  • savings accounts
  • student loans
  • criminal record
  • medical history
  • parking or driving fines
  • council tax arrears

Find out more: How to improve your credit rating – six top tips

  • Last updated: July 2016
  • Updated by: Rob Goodman

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