This section contains useful information to guide you through your credit report and help you protect yourself from identity fraud. Click on the links below for more information about your credit report and other queries.
To get the full picture on what your credit information means and how lenders use it, we recommend the ‘Understanding your credit information and how lenders use it’ guide. Produced by the UK’s leading credit reference agencies, including TransUnion, it’s a definitive document that can help you with your credit related questions.
A credit report is a record of your personal credit history. Lenders use the information it contains to decide whether to give you credit.
If you’re over 18 and have ever taken out a loan, credit card or mobile phone contract, a credit reference agency like TransUnion likely holds a copy of your credit report. It’s important to monitor your financial activity, so checking your report regularly is a good idea.
Read on to find out:
Think of your credit report as a kind of financial passport that includes your financial history and credit activity.
Your credit report will provide the following information:
People with a good credit history are more likely to be given credit and offered higher credit limits and lower interest rates. A bad credit history may lead to your application being declined.
Rest assured, your credit report will never contain sensitive personal information, such as race, religion, sexuality, political beliefs or medical history.
Lenders refer to your credit report in a range of different situations. For example, they may refer to your credit report when you apply for:
That’s why it’s important to regularly check your credit report activity and ensure all the information on your report is accurate.
You can access your statutory credit report – online or by post to make sure there’s nothing stopping you from being accepted for credit. Even if you’re not applying for credit right now, checking your credit report regularly will help to identify fraudulent activity.
At some point in our lives, we’re likely to apply for credit — whether for a car loan, mortgage, mobile phone contract or new credit card. Whenever you apply for credit, the lender will approach a credit reference agency for information about your credit history. This helps them make fair and responsible decisions about whether to give credit. It also helps them protect themselves against fraudulent applications — a growing problem in the UK.
Read on to find out more about credit reference agencies and the role they play in your credit application.
In the UK, there are three main credit reference agencies — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. They work with building societies, banks, mobile phone companies and other major retailers to help those businesses make quick and more accurate decisions about whether the person applying for credit is likely to pay it back.
Credit reference agencies exist because lenders need an accurate way to judge consumers’ creditworthiness.
Before credit reference agencies, banks and other lenders were left to their own devices to filter out unsuitable borrowers. This often led them to make wrong decisions — denying reliable people credit and lending to those who could not repay.
As a result of many years of development and investment, the UK is considered to have one of the most sophisticated and efficient credit referencing systems in the world. This enables lenders to better evaluate consumer credit risk and affordability and make the right lending decisions.
No. Credit reference agencies are independent organisations that hold consumers’ credit-related information, but the decision to grant credit rests with the lender. Also, the information held is entirely factual — with no expressed opinions.
Credit reference agencies hold personal information and details about your financial history.
Each time you apply for credit and a lender searches for your credit report, the credit reference agency keeps a record. This is called a footprint. TransUnion retains these footprints for two years; Experian and Equifax generally retain them for one year.
Organisations searching your credit file won’t be able to see who has accessed your report, but credit references agencies can make this information available to you.
Checking your statutory credit report is the best way to see what information TransUnion holds about you. Even if you’re not currently applying for credit, you should do so to ensure the information is accurate.
If you’re planning to apply for credit now or in the future, it’s important to regularly check the information on your credit report is accurate. And while a lender’s decision to give you credit is not based wholly on your credit file contents, it’s a large, contributing factor.
Read on to find out how to get access to a copy of your statutory credit report.
When it comes to applying for a loan, credit card or mortgage, your credit score and rating matters. Lenders generate a credit rating or score based on the information in your credit file and use it to help decide whether to accept your application. The higher your credit rating or score, the higher your chances of being approved.
No credit rating or score is set in stone, and while you can’t wipe your credit rating clean straight away, there are ways to improve your credit score over time.
Read on to find out how to increase your credit score and rating:
It goes without saying, if you want to improve your credit rating, you should keep up with your credit repayments — and pay on time.
Missed and late repayments remain on your record and affect your credit applications for six years.
Did you know registering to vote can help improve your credit rating or score?
Lenders use the electoral register to check that you live where you say you do — helping prevent fraud. By registering to vote at your current address, you could be boosting your chances of being accepted for credit.
Quality over quantity is what counts when you’re trying to improve your credit rating or score. Aim to have fewer, well-managed credit accounts. That means closing any accounts you’re not using.
If you have no credit history, you won’t be able to prove to lenders you can maintain your payments and be trusted to manage your finances sensibly. Having a limited amount of credit and keeping your accounts up to date can help you build up a credit profile. However, you shouldn’t simply apply for credit you don’t need, or take out any credit if you won’t be able to repay it.
Since lenders use the information in your credit file to help them generate your credit score, even simple mistakes can jeopardise your application. Make sure you check your credit file regularly — even if you’re not currently applying for credit.
There are many factors that affect how financially attractive you are to lenders. If you want to improve you credit rating and score, learning those factors is a good place to start.
From learning how to control your financial behaviour to regularly checking the information contained on your credit report, let’s take a look at what affects your credit score and rating.
What affects your credit rating and score the most is your credit history.
By ensuring you maintain your payments on any credit you take you out, you can start building a good credit history. This proves to lenders you can responsibly borrow money and are able to pay it back.
Records of unpaid debts and bankruptcies stay on your credit file for a minimum of six years. This affects your credit rating because lenders consider you a higher risk if you’ve missed payments. If you’ve been unable to repay your debts once, you may be unable to repay them again.
Even forgetting to make a few repayments can land you in hot water, as lenders don’t necessarily know it simply slipped your mind. They may think you’re not reliable enough to lend money to.
People with whom you have a financial connection can affect your credit rating as their financial circumstances could influence your ability to make repayments.
Just living with someone doesn’t create a financial connection — you need to have a joint loan, mortgage or bank account to create financial links. If you’re a guarantor for someone else’s loan, their credit rating or score will also affect yours as you’re promising to pay their debt if they’re unable to.
Make sure you regularly check your credit report to ensure all your financial associates/connections are correct.
This is important as it gives the lender proof of your address. It has nothing to do with who you vote for; simply being on the electoral register can boost your chances of being accepted for credit. Visit www.yourvotematters.co.uk to register to vote today.
Although it isn’t something you can always control, it’s worth being aware that moving house regularly can make you appear untrustworthy to lenders. Staying at one address reflects stability, which lenders like to see.
Credit applications will normally ask you to provide your current and previous addresses for the last three years. Make sure you check the personal information recorded on your credit report regularly, as an incorrect address or inconsistency could jeopardise your application.
If you’re applying for a loan, a credit card or even a mobile phone contract, lenders will be interested in your credit history. This will give them insight into your financial activity and whether or not you’re reliable enough to pay the money back. In order to increase your chances of being accepted for credit, it’s advisable to keep track of your credit history.
If you’re looking to find more information about your credit profile, you can check our statutory credit report for a basic credit report and to check fraudulent activity isn’t happening in your name. You have the statutory right to access your personal credit information or visit our consumer homepage to decide which credit report is best for you.
If you access your credit report before you apply for credit, it’s important to know what to check for. Here’s a step-by-step guide for reviewing your credit history for anything that could affect your chances of getting credit:
Lenders use your credit file to verify you are who you say you are. So, if the address on your credit file is not up to date, this could signify potential identity fraud.
If you’ve recently moved house or don’t know which address is on your credit report, check it. Don’t let a small administrative error stop hinder you getting credit.
What many people don’t realise is being on the electoral register can actually improve your credit rating. That’s because it provides proof of address and can help reduce the risk of identity fraud. If you’re not sure how to get on the electoral register, here are the government guidelines.
When you access your credit report, you can see information about your past and present credit agreements from the last six years. This includes everything from mobile phone contracts and credit cards to car loans and mortgages.
Check each item is correct, was initiated by you and your payments are up to date. If any credit or retail cards you don’t use appear on your file, closing them can improve your credit rating.
A financial associate is anyone with whom you’ve held a joint financial agreement, such as a bank account or joint mortgage. It’s important to check who your financial associates are because their credit status could affect yours. If you’re no longer financially linked with individuals, make sure they’re removed from your credit file.
If you’ve noticed any information on your credit report is wrong, such as your address, you should notify the lender or raise a dispute with TransUnion. If the lender has reason to believe information is incorrect, they’ll notify the relevant credit reference agency to change the information on your report. Previous addresses remain on your file in order to help identify you.
This depends on what type of information it is. For instance:
Your credit history is confidential information that can only be seen by you, the credit reference agency and lenders with which you’re applying for credit. Reviewing each section of your credit report is key to understanding what your credit history means when you apply for credit.
A statutory credit report allows you to make sure there’s nothing stopping you from being accepted for credit. And even if you’re not applying for credit right now, check your credit report regularly to help identify fraudulent activity.
If you’re applying for a loan, credit card or even a mobile phone contract, lenders look at your credit history to decide whether you’re likely to be a reliable borrower. A good credit rating is key to increasing your chances of being accepted, as the higher your rating, the lower the risk for the lender.
If you’re planning to apply for credit now or in the future, it’s vital you keep a close eye on your credit rating. No credit rating is set in stone, but if you have a low rating, it can’t be changed overnight. That’s why it’s best to regularly check it so any improvements can be made well before you apply for credit.
The most straightforward way to access a credit rating is through a credit report. You can get this from a credit broker such as Credit Karma.
You also have the right to access the information credit reference agencies hold about you. Each credit reference agency can provide you with a copy of the information they hold about you. You can gain access to the info TU holds about you through the statutory credit report.
Credit reference agencies hold the public and financial information lenders use to make their decisions. We have much more about what credit reference agencies do on our website.
Find out what a credit report and score or a statutory credit report can offer you.
You’re entitled by law to access this credit report. This is a basic report which doesn’t provide a credit score or credit rating but is still a good way to check your credit history and the information on your credit file.
There are many factors that affect your credit rating — from your credit history to your financial associates. But did you know something as simple as whether you’re on the electoral register could be standing in the way of you getting a loan?
It’s true. Registering to vote can really improve your chances of being accepted for loans, credit cards and even mortgages.
Your presence on the electoral register provides valuable proof of your address to lenders who view this as a positive sign. Not being registered increases the chances of the application being fraudulent. So whether you’re hoping to be accepted for a credit card, a mobile phone contract or a mortgage, make sure you’re on the electoral register.
If you’re not currently registered but thinking about applying for credit, make sure you register well in advance of your application, as the information will not show up on your credit report instantly.
Many people assume you’re automatically registered to vote — they’re wrong. It’s the individual’s responsibility to ensure they’re on the electoral register. Registering to vote isn’t a complicated and time-consuming process. If you're wondering how to get on the electoral register, these days you can even do it online:
It’s as easy as that, and even if you don’t exercise your right to vote, you’ll have given yourself a better chance to successfully apply for credit.
Although being on the electoral register helps establish your identity, on its own, it won’t protect you from identity theft. You can do manual checks for identity theft by looking out for unusual activity on your credit report, and if you notice changes not made by you, the experts at TransUnion will help resolve any issues. By keeping a close eye on all financial activity in your name, you can identify ID fraud as soon as possible.
For more information about your credit history and how to check your credit report, read our guides:
Identity fraud is a problem that can affect anyone. However, simple precautions can help you protect yourself. Follow these tips to help ensure you don’t become a victim of identity theft.
Lenders will use the address details you provide to check your identity, and being on the electoral register provides evidence you’re living at the address you provided. A credit application which has a different address to the one on the electoral register may indicate it’s fraudulent.
Keep your full name, date of birth and address off your social media accounts and don’t share anything you use as a password, such as your dog’s name or wedding anniversary. Additionally, don’t share information, such as being on holiday or where your mail is left when you’re out.
For an administration fee of £20.00, Cifas — the UK's fraud prevention service — can place a 'Protective Registration' warning on your credit file. This will tell lenders you think your personal information is at risk of being used fraudulently. When they receive an application with your details, they'll make more checks to ensure the person applying is you and not a fraudster. It may mean that any applications you make are delayed while there's further verification of your I.D. — but it's better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re looking to find more information about your credit profile, check our statutory credit report for a basic credit report and to check fraudulent activity isn’t happening in your name. You have the statutory right to access your personal credit information.
YYou should contact your lenders immediately if you suspect you're a victim of identity theft. They can stop further spending and start a fraud investigation. When they confirm the fraud, they'll ask TransUnion to remove the details related to this from your file. In this way, the activities of the fraudster won’t affect the likelihood of you getting credit in the future.
Anyone can fall victim to identity theft or fraud. Some warning signs that suggest you might be a victim and a fraudster is using your details to obtain goods or services in your name include:
Checking your credit report regularly will also help you to spot any unusual activity.
You can place a 'Protective Registration' warning on your credit file. This tells lenders you think your personal information is at risk of being used fraudulently. You can find out more about CIFAS and the services they offer at www.cifas.org.uk.
If your personal information has been stolen, you should obtain a copy of your credit report to check that your details are not being using to fraudulently apply for credit. You can view a statutory credit report.
If your personal information has been stolen, you should obtain a copy of your credit report to check that your details aren’t being using to fraudulently apply for credit.
View a statutory credit report.
You should only open emails and select links if you’re confident of who sent them to you. Banks and other reputable companies will never ask for your card details or password. When in doubt, delete a suspicious email and only enter your information into a website if you’re confident it’s genuine.
I amend the second sentence to read "In any other circumstances, the individual named on the credit report, or a third party authorised to act on their behalf, must contact us directly."
A county court judgment (CCJ) is a type of court order in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that may be registered against you if you fail to repay money you owe.
If you’re applying for credit and a CCJ has been issued against you, you may want to know whether it will stay on your credit file long enough to affect your future credit applications.
Unless you repay the full amount of the CCJ within one month, it stays on your credit file for six years. Over this time, your attempts to get a credit card, a mortgage or even a bank account can be seriously hindered.
CCredit reference agencies keep a record of any county court judgments (CCJs) issued against you and will display it on your credit file for potential lenders to see.
When you apply for a new loan, mortgage or even a mobile phone contract, lenders use the information on your credit file to assess whether you’re ‘creditworthy’ or how likely you are to repay money you’re borrowing.
If you repay the full amount within a month of receiving your CCJ, the judgment will be removed from the register and no record of it remains on your credit file. This means it won’t affect your credit rating at all.
However, if you take longer than a month to repay the amount, a record of this court claim will stay on your file for six years. And even though it will say you’ve paid, people searching for your credit history will still see a CCJ against your name.
In most cases, you’ll be told about your CCJ as soon as it is issued against you. However, if your court papers are sent to the wrong address, you may not be aware of it. So, if you’re having trouble getting credit and you’ve missed repayments in the past, check your credit report to make sure you haven’t got any CCJs on your file.
If you’re looking to find more information about your credit profile, apply for our statutory credit report for a basic credit report and to check fraudulent activity is not happening in your name. You have the statutory right to access your personal credit information.
Get more information on how to check your credit report.