What details go into your credit report?
The purpose of a credit report is to provide information to money-lending institutions about potential borrowers. The report helps the institution decide if the person who has made an application to borrow money in the form of a loan, mortgage or credit card would constitute a financial risk. Based on the findings, the lending institution can decide whether to approve the application or reject it.
There are various types of information that end up in a credit report. As well as credit information, some personal details are included that are used to identify an individual. Essentially, a credit report can be categorised into four or five different groups.
A person’s full name, address and date of birth will be included in the report. It will also show whether you are on the electoral roll at your current address. Information about your social security number and current and past employers will be included in the report. The purpose of this information is to identify you rather than to assess your credit scoring.
It’s worth noting that the report does not include information such as your gender, religion, ethnicity, medical history, political affiliation or any criminal record.
Credit information provided in the report relates to the different accounts you have, including when they were opened, the credit amount, what the balance is and other aspects relating to payment history. Critically, the report will indicate if you have made payments on time or not. Accounts that are closed or inactive tend to be removed from the report after 10 years, although they may still remain there indefinitely in some cases. Accounts not paid as agreed are removed after seven years.
The report does not, however, detail individual purchases that you may have made, how much money you have in current or savings accounts, your income, whether you have any student loans or any current or past parking or driving fines.
Anyone can have access to their credit report for a small fee, so it is worth conducting a regular check to make sure all of the information is accurate. If you see any accounts on the report that are unfamiliar, it could indicate someone has fraudulently opened an account in your name. Act swiftly to get this rectified with the credit reference agency that compiles the report, as it could unwittingly affect your credit rating.
Each time someone views your credit file, whether it’s a bank, building society, credit card company, insurer, landlord or other service provider, it will be detailed on the report. This can affect your credit rating slightly, although credit inquiries are usually erased after two years. It is possible to set up an arrangement that does not allow anyone to look at your report without your permission. The report does not detail how often you have looked at it.
There are three types of public records that show up on a credit report. They stay on your file for up to 10 years and have an impact on your credit rating. Any bankruptcies you may have had will be revealed, as well as if you entered into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). County Court Judgements (CCJs) against you will be detailed in the report, such as owing money for child support. Finally, tax liens, or unpaid taxes on a property, will be highlighted. The report will also say if your home has been repossessed. It does not show any council tax arrears that you owe, however.
Credit reports often have a section that lets you provide any supporting information or evidence about any aspects detailed that may have a negative impact on your credit rating.
How Does the Information Get into the Report?
The financial data in the report comes from any banks, building societies or credit card firms that you use or have used in the past. Personal data will come from local authorities, such as the electoral register, or is supplied by utility companies.