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Free Credit Report online - Improve your credit score

A credit report can help you check, understand and improve your credit rating. What's on your credit report is important if you want to apply for a mortgage, credit card, loan etc. We show you what a credit report contains, what makes it good or bad, and show how to improve your credit rating.

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The contents of your personal Credit Report can determine whether or not you are given credit. However, you do not have a single credit score and credit scores are not shown on your Credit Report. Factors other than the information held on a Credit Report may contribute to a lending decision as well.

Everyone has the right to view their Credit Report to make sure its correct. Being able to view your Credit Report is important, as, in addition to providing the basis for a lending decision, your credit rating may also affect the interest rate you are offered by lenders. You are also entitled to apply to have any errors amended.

Credit Reports are compiled by credit reference agencies using information from the electoral roll, court judgments, bankruptcies and individual voluntary arrangements (IVA's)s. Also from information provided by financial institutions and lenders, e.g. credit accounts or financial associations. When applying for a loan, the lender will contact a credit reference agency to check your Credit Report, to help them assess your creditworthiness and any risk. The credit reference agency itself does not offer any advice to the lender.

The information on your Credit Report will include electoral roll entries, the name and address your local authority holds for you and the names of the people registered to vote at that address. Lenders use the electoral roll to check the identity of the people applying for credit and to make sure the addresses are correct. The electoral roll is published every December. Credit reference agencies update their records each year.

Court judgments (CCJ's) are on your credit report for six years. Credit reference agencies receive the information from Registry Trust, an independent organisation set up by the Lord Chancellor's Department. Judgments that are paid within one month are removed from your records as long as a Certificate of Satisfaction has been issued by the court. Judgments paid after one month are kept on file but marked as 'satisfied' once a Certificate has been issued by the court.

If you have been declared bankrupt, credit reference agencies will obtain this information from the official gazettes. It is kept on your file for six years after the date of the bankruptcy order.

Credit reference agencies hold information from lenders about credit accounts for six years. Accounts are known as 'settled', 'active', 'defaulted', or 'delinquent'. A settled account is one where you have repaid your credit. An active account is one that is still being used.

A defaulted account is one where you have not stuck to a credit agreement. Agencies keep a record of these accounts for six years from the date you broke the relevant term of the credit agreement. The record will show how much money you still owe.

A delinquent account is one where your repayments have been at least three months in arrears for two or more consecutive months or have been late for more than three months over a year. Every record includes a status history. The last years payments are shown together with a payment history over a period of 36 months and will show whether they are on time.

Credit history includes a record of lenders who have searched your file as a result of you applying for credit in the past 12 months. If your file specifies 'unrecorded enquiries', this shows that a company has searched your file for non-lending purposes. However, this information is only available to you.

Lenders may also search your file to give you a credit quotation. These are recorded as quotation searches so other lenders do not mistake them for credit applications. Agencies make a record on your report to show that a file has been applied for in your name and address, but this information is available only to you.

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If your refused a credit because of whats on your report then the lender should tell you the name and address of the credit reference agency they used. And find out why your application was refused. If you have paid a CCJ, check that its shown as satisfied on your report. If not, contact the County Court and obtain a Certificate of Satisfaction.

If you have been linked to an address which you have no connection with, contact the companies and ask for the address to be deleted. If other members of your household, who have CCJ's or late payment histories, are recorded on your Credit Report you can also ask for this to be removed.

If a Bankruptcy Order has been discharged and this does not show on your Credit Report, send a photocopy of the Order of Discharge to all Credit Reference Agencies and ask for the report to be updated.

If you can pay any outstanding payments shown against credit account information, contact the lender concerned and also ask that they advise all credit reference agencies so that their records can also be amended. If a credit account has been paid but this is not shown on your Credit Report, contact the company concerned and ask them to make the changes.

You may also wish to add an explanation or 'Notice of Correction' to the information. This can be the reason why your account fell into arrears at that particular time. This notice can be up to 200 words. Any future lender will get to see the Notice.

First of all, it is important to ensure you are registered to vote. If you move home you need to tell your local authority who will then pass the information onto credit reference agencies. If you believe any information needs to be changed you should write to the lender concerned and ask them to give the correct information to the credit reference agencies.

If a financial association is shown on the report, and you do not share any responsibility with the other person, or if that financial association has ended, you can ask the agencies to create a disassociation. The information will then be removed from your file, and your information will then be removed from theirs.

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  • Last updated 24 November 2015

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