What is a credit report?

A credit report details your personal credit history for accounts you've had in the last six years, including mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, loans, mobile phone contracts and even some utilities such as gas, electricity and water. If you're over 18 and have taken out credit before, a credit reference agency is likely to hold a credit report on you.

How do lenders use your credit report?

A credit report gives insight into your credit accounts, repayment records and how well you’re coping with your finances.

Lenders usually have to tell you before they look at information from your credit report. They use it, along with what you’ve provided on your application form and information they might already have (if you're an existing customer), to help them decide whether or not to offer you credit - usually by calculating their own for your application.

What’s in your credit report?

Your credit report contains information that helps lenders confirm your identity and assess whether you're a reliable borrower, such as:

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Account information

A view of credit accounts you’ve had and whether you’ve made repayments on time and in full. Items such as missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, as do court judgments for non-payment of debts, bankruptcies and individual voluntary arrangements.

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Financial connections

A list of the people with whom you have a financial connection, such as a joint mortgage or bank account - they are known as your financial associates. Their credit history doesn’t appear in your credit report. However, when you apply for credit, lenders are able to look at their credit history also, as their circumstances could affect your ability to repay what you owe.

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Address details

A view of electoral roll information for your current address and previous addresses you provide when you apply. It also contains details of any other addresses you’ve been linked to in the past, such as those you’ve given to lenders on application forms.

Where does the information in your credit report come from?

The information in your credit report comes from two major sources:

  • Public information - This includes electoral roll information and court judgments.
  • Credit history information - Many lenders share information on what you owe, and whether you’ve paid on time. You agree to this as part of any application for credit. Some lenders only contribute information on accounts that have defaulted, but these days most share monthly updates on all customers.

When should you check your credit report?

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If you’re changing job or moving home

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If you’re applying for credit

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If you're worried about ID fraud

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