Your credit report explained Checking your credit report

Woman checking online credit report

It's a good idea to check your credit report each year. 

Remember to get copies of the files held on you by all three credit reference agencies – CallCredit, Equifax and Experian – as it’s unlikely they will all store identical information.

The information held on you will give you an indication of any issues that could affect your ability to get credit, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.

Find out more: How to improve your credit rating - six steps to a better credit score

Getting hold of your credit report

You can request a copy of your credit file from any of the agencies online or by post. Under the Consumer Credit Act, you have a right to obtain your full statutory credit report at a cost of £2 per credit reference agency.

To check your credit file, report problems or request amendments to the information contained within your credit report, contact the three credit reference agencies:

CallCredit – 0870 060 1414
Consumer Services Team
PO Box 491

Equifax – 0844 335 0550
Equifax Credit File Advice Centre
PO Box 1140

Experian – 0800 013 88 88
Customer Support Centre
PO Box 9000
NG80 7WF

If you apply for a copy of your credit report online, you will need to have certain information handy. This includes all of the addresses you've lived at for the past six years and details of anyone you have a 'financial association' with (for instance, your partner – but only if you have a joint financial product such as a current account or mortgage). 

You should be able to access your credit report online shortly after applying to view it.

Get free access to your credit report

As well as the £2 statutory report, CallCredit, Equifax and Experian all offer free online credit reports – but only as temporary introductions to their paid-for services. 

Make sure you remember to cancel your membership with the credit reference agencies before the end of the free trial period, which usually lasts for 30 days. If you forget, you will start being charged a monthly fee for maintaining access to your credit file.

Credit report mistakes - how to make a correction

If you spot a mistake on any of your credit files, it's important to get this rectified – otherwise it could harm your ability to get credit later. Mistakes can range from basic errors relating to your address details to incorrect information supplied by your bank, which could put deter another company from lending to you. 

You may even come across fraudulent activity, such as a credit application made in your name.

If you do spot a mistake, write to the credit reference agency and ask for it to be corrected immediately. Make sure you include an explanation about why it's wrong, and include any evidence you have.

Credit report agency response

The agency has 28 days to act, and the relevant detail in your credit report will be marked as 'disputed' in the meantime. This is so any lender searching your file will know not to rely on that piece of information.

If the credit reference agency doesn't amend your records, you have a legal right to send it a notice of correction (up to 200 words), which will be added to your file. 

If you need to add a notice of correction to your credit report, use it to explain why you think a particular piece of information is wrong and make sure you mention any mitigating circumstances – for example, a sudden bereavement that may have caused you to miss a credit card or loan repayment.

Choosing the right option

We believe you should take independent advice before choosing a mortgage. The Which? Group offers an independent mortgage advice service that looks at every mortgage from every available lender. You can also find an independent mortgage adviser using the Unbiased website.

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Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.