1. About TransUnion and other Credit Reference Agencies

1.1 What is TransUnion?

TransUnion International UK Limited (trading as TransUnion) is a part of TransUnion’s global organisation and one of the three main Credit Reference Agencies in the UK. We combine data with our suite of software and analytical capabilities to help businesses and consumers make more informed, confident decisions.

TransUnion has been operating internationally for over 30 years in over 30 countries. We connect businesses and consumers through data, technology and analytics to help build credit economies worldwide. We’re a key provider of risk and information solutions within the markets we serve.

As a global information and insights provider, we strive to help organisations optimise their risk-based decisions and enable consumers to understand and manage their personal information. It's our purpose to help businesses and individuals around the world transact with confidence, access the opportunities that lead to a higher quality of life and achieve great things. We call that Information for Good®. To find out more information about TransUnion please go to www.transunion.co.uk/about-us

1.2 What is a Credit Reference Agency?

Credit Reference Agencies (sometimes abbreviated to CRAs) collate and store information relating to the creditworthiness of almost every adult in the UK. This information is supplied to lenders and other organisations to assist them in establishing an individual’s identity, credit history and current credit commitments.

At some point in our lives, nearly all of us apply for credit — be it for a car loan, mortgage, mobile phone contract or credit card. When you apply for credit, the lender approaches a Credit Reference Agency for information about your credit history which helps them make a fair and responsible decision about whether to give you credit. It also helps them protect themselves against fraudulent applications — a growing problem in the UK. The information on your credit report can even be used during the process of tenant vetting or new job applications.

1.3 How many Credit Reference Agencies are there?

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 a quick and informed decision about whether the person applying for credit is likely to pay it back.

1.4 Do Credit Reference Agencies make lending decisions?

No. Credit Reference Agencies will not decide whether you’re given credit. That is the lender’s decision. Credit Reference Agencies are independent organisations holding the information that lenders use to decide whether you should get credit. They play no part in the actual decision-making process and the information they hold is entirely factual.

1.5 What information do Credit Reference Agencies hold?

Credit Reference Agencies hold personal information and details about your financial history, including:

  • Your presence on the Electoral Register
  • Any county court judgments made against you
  • Any bankruptcies or insolvencies
  • Your past and current credit agreements; how much you owe and your repayment history

1.6 Do the three main Credit Reference Agencies (CRA) hold identical information about me?

No. The information CRAs obtain from public sources (such as electoral register data, bankruptcies and County Court judgments) should be similar, but information supplied by lenders may well be different. Some lenders supply data about their credit accounts to all three of the main CRAs, while others only supply data to one or two agencies.

1.7 Why does my credit score differ across different Credit Reference Agencies (CRA)?

Your TransUnion, Experian and Equifax scores are likely to be different as each of these companies use their own credit scoring system with different maximum scores (TransUnion’s score is out of 710, Experian’s is 999 and Equifax’s is 700).

Each CRA assembles your report from information sent to them by lenders, credit card issuers and courts and local authorities. Lenders will have their own scoring criteria like CRAs, and will calculate a credit score based on their perception and interpretation of the information they hold.

2. About your credit score

2.1 What is credit scoring?

Credit scoring is often used by lenders to help them assess the risk involved in extending credit facilities to someone. Your credit score is a 3-digit number calculated from all of the credit data a Credit Reference Agency holds about you. Your score will highlight to any potential lenders, including utility and mobile phone providers, your creditworthiness and the likelihood of you making repayments.

Each CRA has its own method of calculating a credit score. The TransUnion score is out of 710, but other CRAs are likely to have a different maximum score. Most lenders also generate their own score based on the information in your credit report. A customer with a higher credit score, within the score range, is more likely to have access to a broader range of credit products. As such, being aware of the factors which affect your credit rating can be instrumental in understanding how to boost your score.

Remember, a high credit score is not a guarantee you’ll be accepted for any product that you apply for; nor does a lower score mean you’ll be turned down — as the decision is at the discretion of the product provider. Every credit provider will have their own rules. A number of factors help product providers make lending decisions, including the following:

  • Information supplied in your application for the product
  • Information on your history with credit; this is supplied by a Credit Reference Agency, such as TransUnion.
  • Details about any existing credit accounts you have
  • Their own policies and rules

2.2 What could affect your credit score?

  • Your credit score is constantly changing. Many factors affect how financially attractive you are to lenders. So, if you want to manage your credit rating and score, learning what factors could affect it is a good place to start:
  • Maintaining at least your minimum repayments on any credit you take out will help to build up a positive credit history over time. If necessary, you may consider setting up a direct debit to ensure you do not miss a payment.
  • Steering clear of your credit limits will demonstrate to lenders that you’re not overly reliant on credit facilities.
  • It is best practice from a fraud prevention perspective — and to minimise risk of becoming overindebted — to close any credit accounts you no longer use. If the account is particularly old, you may see an initial decline in your credit score due to the age of the oldest account dropping, but rest assured, this score factor will soon right itself when you continue to demonstrate positive repayment relationships with active accounts you still use.
  • If you receive a court judgment, paying it in full within one calendar month will mark the judgment as ‘Set Aside,’ and it will be removed entirely from your credit report. Otherwise, a judgment will be on credit report for six years from the date of order.
  • Bankruptcies and Insolvencies (BAI) will affect your credit score and lenders will view you as a higher risk — even once your BAI has been discharged or completed. BAI will be on your credit report for six years from the date of order and in some instances, where criteria of the BAI have not been met, even longer.
  • Making sure you’re on the Electoral Register is an easy way to boost your credit score as it is used to verify you are who you say you are and can be contacted at your address for any monies owed.

2.3 What are score factors?

Score factors provide you with insight into both the positive and negative elements of your credit report that are currently influencing your credit score.

The factors you see are unique to you and your TransUnion credit report and may include insight into things such as your Electoral Register status, utilisation of credit and repayment history.

2.4 How are score factors generated?

Score factors are generated by assessing the latest information held on your TransUnion credit report. This is so TransUnion can provide you with a unique set of factors that relate specifically to your individual credit score.

3. About your credit report

3.1 What is a credit report?

A credit report contains all the information held on an individual at their address(es) by the Credit Reference Agency.

If you’re over 18 and have taken out a loan, credit card or mobile phone contract, a CRA 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.

3.2 How do I access my credit report?

You can access a copy of your TransUnion Credit Report for free by clicking here.

3.3. What information does your credit report provide?

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:

    Financial account information — This is a record of the financial account information held on you by TransUnion over the last six years.
  • Presence on Electoral Register — The name and address under which you’re registered with your local council’s Electoral Register (ER). Your ER data shows lenders you’re at a stable address and helps to verify you’re known at your address.
  • Financial connections and other names — The name(s) of any person(s) you share finances with, such as those with whom you have a joint bank account or have taken out a loan or mortgage with. You’ll also see any other names you’ve been known by on your finances and addresses you’ve been at financially.
  • Search history — This is a record of who performed a credit search on you, what information they input to request information on you, why they did it and when.
  • Cifas — If you’ve been a ‘Victim of Impersonation’ or have applied for ‘Protective Registration’ through Cifas — the UKs leading fraud prevention non-profit organisation — you’ll see a record of this on your credit report. This won’t impact your credit score, but it will prompt lenders to make extra checks prior to accepting you for credit.
  • Judgments, bankruptcies and insolvencies — These are any court orders with regards to settlements of monies owed; judgments (High Court, County Court or Sheriff Court), bankruptcies, sequestrations, individual voluntary arrangements, trust deeds, debt relief orders and administration orders.

3.4 Why are some of my financial accounts missing from my credit report?

There are a few reasons why this may happen:

  1. Recently opened financial account information may not yet have been shared with TransUnion. Please allow 4–6 weeks for lenders to share this information with TransUnion.
  2. You have not informed your lenders that you’ve recently moved or changed your name. In this instance, please ensure you’ve made your lenders aware that your personal information has changed and allow 4–6 weeks for them to share updated information with TransUnion.
  3. If it’s a really old financial account (20+ years), it may be that at the time of signing your agreement, you were not aware information would be shared for credit referencing purposes, and in this instance, you’ll need to contact your lender to instruct them to share this data with us.
  4. Although we hold millions of accounts on our database, some lenders don’t contribute information about their credit agreements to TransUnion. If you suspect this may be the case, you can get in touch with your lender in regard to sharing information with us.

3.5 How does TransUnion ensure security of my data?

It's TransUnion's priority to ensure your information is held securely. All the personal data TransUnion holds is processed in accordance with strict security standards and procedures.

3.6 How long will information stay on my credit report?

Type of information Expiry date
Financial account information Six years from the date the account was settled or defaulted
Searches Two Years
Judgments Six years from the date of Judgment, unless paid within one calendar month, in which case, the judgment is ‘Set Aside’ and removed from record
Bankruptcies Typically, six years from the date of order; however, if the bankruptcy is in a restriction order or undertaking (BRO or BRU), then it can be on your credit report for longer
Insolvencies Typically, six years from the date of order; however, individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) can stay on file for longer than six years where criteria of the IVA have not been met
Cifas A Cifas protective registration remains on your credit file for as long as you subscribe to the Cifas service
Associate links Indefinitely or until you contact us and demonstrate it’s no longer appropriate for you to be associated with the other person
Alias and address links Indefinitely
Electoral register Indefinitely
Notice of correction Until you ask for its removal or the data it is attached to expires

3.7 My details on the Electoral Register are incorrect; how do I update them?

Each local authority updates Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) at different times. If the information on your credit report regarding your electoral registration is incorrect, you’ll need to raise a dispute against it on your credit report and supply us with evidence from your local authority in order to update your credit file.

Once you’ve raised a dispute, please email your supporting documentation to UKconsumer@transunion.com or send it to Consumer Services Team, PO Box 491, Leeds LS3 1WZ.

3.8 Will my credit report show I’ve been declined for credit?

No. If a company makes a search, a record shows on your report, but it won’t show whether your application was accepted or rejected.

3.9 What if there’s incorrect information on my credit report?

If there’s information on your credit report which you believe is incorrect, please raise a dispute against it.

A dispute is an action you can take, within your legal rights, to notify TransUnion about information you believe to be incorrect on your credit report.

When you raise a dispute, TransUnion will investigate the data accuracy with the data provider (e.g., lenders, local council or the courts) and provide you with an outcome within 28 days in accordance with our obligations under Section 159 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

To view a copy of your TransUnion Credit Report where you can see the information held on you, and if necessary, raise a dispute with us to investigate any inaccuracies, please click here.

If you need further information on understanding your TransUnion credit score please contact UKconsumer@transunion.com

4. Searches on your credit file

4.1 Can I find out who has searched my credit report?

Yes. We keep a record of every search made on your statutory credit report in the last 24 months. These are shown in the Search History section of your credit report. Searches you request on your own file are not classed as credit searches and are not seen by lenders.

4.2 Can anyone search my report?

No. We only allow access to your report in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and the industry rules which govern credit reference agencies. This means there are firm restrictions on who can view your credit file and what information we can provide them. For example, an organisation with which you’ve applied for credit may access your information, or on occasion, we may be required to provide information to the police or other government agencies.

4.3 How long are searches kept on my credit report?

Each time you or an organisation makes an application to view a copy of your report, a search is left behind to indicate who, why and when the search was made, as well as what information was input to retrieve the credit report. TransUnion retains a record of all searches for two years.

4.4 If there’s a search on my report I know nothing about, what should I do?

In the first instance, you should contact the company who made the search to ask for further details. The search could be in the name of a company that’s the parent company or subsidiary of a company you may recognise. If the company agrees to remove a search, they’ll tell us and we’ll update your report.

Alternatively, you can raise a dispute against the search record on your credit report if you don’t recognise it. TransUnion will look into this further and get back to you within 28 days.

5. Disputing the information on your credit report

5.1 How can I dispute the accuracy of information on my credit report?

If you see something on your credit report you believe isn’t being reported correctly, you can let us know by raising a dispute. To find out how to dispute an item on your credit report, you can read our Dispute FAQs.

Once we’ve received your dispute, along with any supporting evidence we’ve requested,* we’ll begin our investigation and make any amendments where necessary. You’ll receive an outcome within 28 days of the dispute being raised.

*For some disputes, you’ll be required to provide supporting evidence. In the event evidence is not provided within a 28-day timeframe, we’ll be unable to process your dispute further.

6. Bankruptcies, insolvencies and judgements

6.1 How do I get judgments removed from my credit report?

Most judgments are automatically removed six years after the original judgment date, with a few exceptions:

  • The courts will also allow a judgment to be removed entirely when it is paid within one month and is therefore set aside by the court.
  • If the judgment is not yours, in the sense that it’s not in your name at an address you have been financially known at, you should raise a dispute against it. If it’s in your name and at an address you’ve been known at, please contact the issuing court for further information.
  • Judgments issued by a Sheriff Court (known as Decrees) will require you to supply them with evidence from the plaintiff that the debt has been paid before it will be marked as satisfied.
  • Judgments included in an insolvency or bankruptcy are not automatically marked as satisfied when the insolvency or bankruptcy ends. You’ll need to contact the issuing court with evidence of the insolvency or bankruptcy ending and ask them to update their records.

6.2 How do I make sure financial account information included in a bankruptcy or insolvency is marked as satisfied and closed?

Financial account information included in a bankruptcy or insolvency will not be marked as closed and satisfied until after your bankruptcy or insolvency has been completed or discharged and the lender has been notified of this.

You can contact your lender with evidence of the bankruptcy or insolvency ending in order to mark these accounts as closed and satisfied.

6.3 How do I get a bankruptcy or insolvency removed?

Most bankruptcies and insolvencies are automatically removed from your credit file six years from the date of order with a few exceptions:

  • Individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), which could remain on your credit report for longer where criteria of the IVA have not been met.
  • If you’ve been found to be dishonest or to blame in your bankruptcy and are therefore placed in a bankruptcies restriction order or undertaking (BRO or BRU), your bankruptcy will be on your credit file for longer than six years.

If your bankruptcy or insolvency was annulled and therefore should be removed from your credit file before the six-year period, please raise a dispute against it on your credit report and provide us with the relevant Certificate of Annulment from the issuing court or confirmation from the supervisor.

6.4 How do I get a bankruptcy or an IVA marked as discharged or completed?

To mark a bankruptcy as discharged, we'll need to see the relevant Certificate of Discharge. For an IVA to be marked as completed, we'll need written confirmation from your insolvency practitioner. In either instance, please also raise a dispute against the data on your credit report prior to supplying us with your evidence.

7. Notice of Correction

7.1 What is a Notice of Correction?

Where your credit report data is accurate, but you’d like to explain the reason behind an item, you can choose to add wording of your choice to your credit report in the form of a Notice of Correction (NOC).

A NOC is free to apply and has no impact on your credit score. However, the presence of a NOC will slow down any future applications for credit (e.g., credit card, mortgage) as any lender viewing your credit report will be required to manually review your credit report.

When you submit a NOC to be added to your credit report, TransUnion will review the wording you provide. The wording must be in line with the NOC Guidelines below. TransUnion may write to you with suggested alternative wording if the statement does not adhere to the guidelines which are:

  • Must be no longer than 200 words
  • Must be relevant to the information within your credit report
  • Must not be frivolous, defamatory or libellous
  • Cannot name a third party
  • Cannot apportion blame
  • Cannot contain confidential personal information

If you disagree with TransUnion’s alternative wording, we can appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office for final say on the wording before adding it to your credit report.

To add a NOC to your credit report, please email your chosen wording to: UKConsumer@transunion.com

Alternatively, you can write to us at:

Consumer Services Team
TransUnion
PO Box 491
Leeds
LS3 1WZ
United Kingdom

Please be aware any NOCs which are added to your TransUnion credit report will not be shared with other Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs). You should therefore also contact the other CRAs to add a Notice of Correction in their versions of your credit report to the data item you want to explain.

You can contact the other two CRAs using the links:

7.2 How do I add a Notice of Correction?

To add a NOC to your credit report, please email your chosen wording to: UKConsumer@transunion.com

Alternatively, you can write to us at:

Consumer Services Team
TransUnion
PO Box 491
Leeds
LS3 1WZ
United Kingdom

When you submit a NOC to be added to your credit report, TransUnion will review the wording you provide. The wording must be in line with the NOC Guidelines below. TransUnion may write to you with a suggested alternative wording if the statement does not adhere to the guidelines which are:

  • Must be no longer than 200 words
  • Must be relevant to the information within your credit report
  • Must not be frivolous, defamatory or libellous
  • Cannot name a third party
  • Cannot apportion blame
  • Cannot contain confidential personal information

Please be aware that any NOCs which are added to your TransUnion credit report will not be shared with other Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs). You should therefore also contact the other CRAs to add a Notice of Correction in their versions of your credit report to the data item you want explaining.

You can contact the other two CRAs using the links:

8. Notice of disassociation

8.1 What is a notice of disassociation?

A notice of disassociation is a request from you to TransUnion to remove financial associates from your file. All you have to do is raise a dispute against the associate link on your credit report.

Following various checks to ensure the financial association has genuinely ended, TransUnion will then remove the financial associate from your file.

Once the association has been removed, you’ll no longer be financially associated to that individual.

8.2 What is a financial associate?

A financial associate is an individual you’ve been financially connected to in the past. For example, it could be a partner or spouse with whom you have taken out a joint mortgage.

If you no longer share finances with an individual you’re linked to, you’ll need to raise a dispute to request to be disassociated from them, as you are not disassociated automatically.