Credit Reports and Credit Ratings

Understanding your credit report is really important. Why pay more interest than you need to. Before applying for credit you need the best report possible. Whenever you apply for credit in its many forms – mortgage, credit card, personal loan, mobile phone contract, and some utilities - the suppler will likely check your credit report.

Your credit report may also be viewed by employers and other institutions with your permission.

  • A good credit report means higher likelihood of finance and cheaper finance
  • A poor credit report means higher costs and less likelihood of getting credit. Also any failed applications for credit will further impair your ability to get credit.

There are a number of credit reference agencies –Experian, Equifax, CallCredit (trading as Noddle).

They create a credit report using:

  • Details from banks, credit card companies and other lenders of the debt outstanding for each customer and if payments are made on time.
  • Electoral roll information, address history, CCJs, bankruptcies and voluntary arrangements, financial links with other people eg joint credit applications.
  • Details of all the credit applications you have made and if these have been accepted or rejected.

When you request a loan quotation through us this does not impact your credit rating.

When you submit your application to the Lender for any form of credit this will be recorded on your credit report.

Making lots of applications for credit in a short period and having multiple rejections for credit are likely to lower your credit rating and result in less likelihood of future credit being granted

If you are refused credit the Lender should tell you why they have refused credit and whether it is based on your credit report. They should also give you details of the credit reference agencies they have consulted

  • Make sure you are on the electoral roll
  • Make payments on time or contact the lender as soon as possible if you will miss a payment
  • Check your credit file and correct any inaccuracies including ensuring all your debts are registered to your correct name and current address
  • If you split up from someone you have had joint credit with, contact the credit reference agencies to delink your record
  • Cancel unused credit cards and store cards
  • Space out credit applications including mobile phone contracts

Your credit report is your data and usually other institutions can only view this information if you grant your permission.

You can view your credit report by going to the credit reference agencies website.

If information is incorrect you can contact the credit reference agency to ask them to correct it or add a note to your record.

For information on how to check your credit report and free options see Money Saving Expert

You will need Adobe Reader to view this file in the unlikely event this is not already installed on your device please go to the Adobe site to download for free

Credit Reports and Credit Ratings Leaflet

Do you need Car Finance?

How is a credit rating calculated?

Your credit rating is an assessment of how you have managed your credit agreements to date. Credit agreements include mobile phone contracts, landline contracts and some utilities, as well as credit cards, loans, mortgages and car finance.

Other factors that influence your credit rating include how long you have been on the electoral roll, how recently you have moved address, if you have County Court Judgements or have been insolvent and the credit rating of any financial associates. A financial association occurs when you take out a joint credit agreement, this could be a joint mortgage or joint agreement for your home landline

There are three credit reference agencies in the UK – Experian, Equifax, CallCredit (which trades as Noddle). Credit providers pass information to the credit reference agencies when a customer takes out a new agreement and each time a payment date falls due they will send an update of whether or not the payment is made on time.

Other credit providers can then access this information use it to decide if they want to lend. Typically for car finance, the information from the credit reference agencies is combined with other customer details including employment history, salary and car details.

How can I improve my credit rating?

You can obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the credit reference agencies. Some allow for online access either on a trial or paid basis. You can also request in writing a copy of your credit report for which you can be charged a small fee (currently £2). This allows you to see if any defaults are registered.

Register on the electoral roll – this gives lenders a firm proof of address, which improves their confidence to lend.

Make sure all your accounts are registered to your current address – the more credit agreements are registered to where you live, the stronger your footprint at that address.

Correct any inaccuracies – if there are errors on your file, contact the lender or credit reference agency to correct them.

Resolve any defaults – if you can, contact any lenders where you have defaults registered to see if they can be resolved.

Be proactive – if you know you will miss a payment, contact your credit provider first. This will reduce the risk of a default being registered

If you have a thin credit file with very few previous credit agreements, lenders can consider you a higher risk. Try to be especially careful to make all your payments on time for mobile phones, utilities, credit cards, as this will improve your credit rating. If you have a thin credit file, any defaults are considered of much greater importance than where you have a long history of repaying debt on time.

Remove financial associations if you no longer have shared debt. If you have separated from someone with whom you have had joint finance in the past, contact the credit reference agencies to remove the link between you.