The three main credit reference agencies (CRAs) are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. All will provide consumers with a copy of their credit report and you can apply online.
Lenders will use the information in these reports to determine whether or not to grant credit – and potentially what rate of interest will apply. Your credit report will probably go back at least six years and include:
- Your current and previous credit accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, store cards and mobile phone contracts.
- Details of all late or missed payments. This will include details of your outstanding balances with utility companies.
- Records of county court judgements, home repossessions, bankruptcies, or any Individual Voluntary Arrangements.
- Details of any joint financial relationships, such as joint mortgages or bank accounts.
- Whether you are on the electoral register.
It is worth paying attention to your credit history. If you have unpaid debts or a history of missed payments you are less likely to get credit, at least at preferential rates. There are other things that can also count against you, such as putting in a lot of credit applications in a short space of time or having no credit history at all.
If the information held by the CRAs is incorrect you can contact them to have it amended. It is also possible to add a note to your file, for example explaining the circumstances that led to a missed payment.
These reports should show if anyone has tried to apply for credit in your name. If this has happened contact the agency immediately and alert the relevant company.