Credit reports help you understand your likelihood of being accepted for credit, and it's always wise to check yours before you apply.
What information does my credit report contain?
While understanding your credit report may seem like a daunting prospect due to the pressure involved when making financial decisions and the typical jargon that is a feature of financial services, it is made much simpler by making use of short-term Free Services which some providers offer. This allows new customers a 30-day free trial in order to see how their services can benefit understanding of their credit report.
This temporary, free version may only be a restricted version of your credit report. However, it will still give you a good insight into what information is currently recorded about your financial history and current reported circumstances. It will also allow you to monitor the searches that have been carried out on your report. The report will include any previous attempts to obtain credit including store cards & hire purchase, as well as the obvious applications for credit cards and banking services.
Your personal history is stored in order for lenders to gain an understanding of your trustworthiness as a borrower and how sensibly you manage your finances. Therefore ultimately, your credit report shows lenders a calculation of risk, and invariably how likely they are to see the funds you have borrowed returned.
How to do I prevent errors in my credit files?
You should look through the information that the credit agency has on you, based on your repayment history as this is also taken in to consideration. Even obvious details should be double checked to ensure that all the information is accurate, such as;
Bank Account overdrafts
Mobile phone contracts
Previous attempts to obtain credit - including credit & store cards, catalogue credit & hire purchase
How accurate is my credit report?
If you regularly check your credit file, you are able to detect any mistakes that have occurred and contact the necessary agency to have this amended. You can also see any fraudulent attempts to obtain credit that may have occurred in your name and ensure that you are not unfairly penalised for rejected applications which were falsely submitted.
What can I do if there are issues/errors in my credit report?
Generally speaking the credit reference agency you have selected will be able to deal with the matter of mistakes internally and rectify any issues you have relatively swiftly. However, the situation may arise whereby there is a dispute and you may need to refer back directly to the lender from whom you are trying to obtain credit. You do have the right to add a notice stating the need for correction to your account and this information will be passed on to future credit providers so you are not turned down based on false information.
The credit reference agency will also come equipped with the tools and advice that you need in order to improve your credit score and give you a greater freedom of choice over which financial products you can apply for in the future. How to get your Credit Report for Free
Currently you can receive free trials, with no obligation, with all the credit reference agencies for a fixed period of time. However, you should remember that you will need to ensure you close the account before the end of this trial. Failure to close before the end of your trial will mean that you must fulfill at least one monthly payment for their service after your trial has expired.
All of the free services showcased above will charge a monthly fee after the initial free period. Be careful to quickly cancel your subscription if you do not want to incur undue costs. If you think you are like to forget you might find it better to pay £2.00 to receive your statutory credit report - read our guide to the credit reference agencies for more information about this option.