What is a credit report and where can you check yours for free?
If you want to improve your credit score then having the contents of your credit report explained simply is a vital first step. Once we have explained what a credit report is, we’ll then show you how to get a copy of your credit report for free!
Most people have heard of a credit report at some point in their adult life but for many the contents of a credit report are still a bit of a mystery. Put simply your credit report is a detailed history of how you’ve handled your finances for the past 6 years of your life. A credit report is used by lenders to determine your credit score and judge whether they should lend you money. To determine this lenders need your credit report to contain the following things.
A credit report contains personal details like your full name and any previous names by which you may have been known. It shows details of your address history over the past 6 years and whether you are on the electoral roll at your current address. It might also contain your national insurance number and details of any people you are financially linked to both now and in the past. This information is on your credit report to prove to lenders that you are who you say you are and live where you say you live.
Your Credit History
Your free credit report will give a detailed overview of any credit or other financial commitments (eg. mobile phone contract) you’ve had over the past 6 years and will also show how you’ve handled these credit commitments. This means lenders will be able to see what credit cards you have and the credit limits and balances of these cards. It will show details of any loans you have, how long you’ve had them and how much you still owe. It will also show details of your mortgage if you have one. Most importantly your free credit report will give a monthly history of all payments made to these credit accounts and show up any missed or late payments on the accounts. It will also show details of any arrears on these credit accounts and any defaults registered during the past 6 years.
Your free credit report will also show whether you’ve been made bankrupt or had any county court judgements filed against you in the past 6 years.
Why You Should Check Your Credit Report & How To Get A Free Credit Report!
It’s very important that you check your credit report regularly because mistakes can easily pop up on a credit report without your knowledge. I had a problem like this a few years ago when I was declined for credit for no particular reason. When I got a copy of my credit report I noticed that a judgement had been filed against me by a utility company at an address I wasn’t even living at! I managed to contact the court and credit reference agencies and have the judgement removed but I would never had known that the judgement was even there had I not got a copy of my credit report.
Credit reference agencies usually charge you to get a copy of your credit report but it is possible to get a copy of your credit report for free! Both of the major UK credit reference agencies offer a free trial of there online credit report services. It’s important to get a copy of your credit report from both of them as they tend to contain different things (The judgement error I mentioned earlier was listed with one agency but not the other!)
Checkmyfile – Check My File are the UK’s only multi-agency credit report provider, meaning that you can see what’s on your report with all four of the major UK credit reference agencies – Callcredit, Crediva, Equifax and Experian – all in one place. To sign up for a free 30 day trial with Checkmyfile click here, or you might also want to read our full Checkmyfile review.
Experian – Experian operate a service where you can get an instant copy of your free credit report online. They give all new users of this service a 30 day free trial which you can take advantage of here.
Equifax – Equifax also offer the same 30 day free online trial which you can register for here. (*Please note that monthly fees apply to the consumer following the 30 day Free Trial of these products if the user does not cancel within the trial period. The monthly fees are £14.95 for the Free Credit Score and £9.95 for the Free Credit Report. A user can cancel their subscription with Equifax at any time.)
I hope you don’t come across any errors on your credit report as they can be a bit of a pain to sort out but don’t hesitate to put a problem right because until you do it could stop you getting any type of credit!