In our last blog post, we looked at how to access your credit report. Once you’ve done that, and got your report from one of the credit reference agencies, you’ll need to check that the information given on your profile is accurate.
While many personal details, such as your salary, religion and any criminal record are not included, in your credit report, a lot of information is. Here’s a checklist of the things you need to go through and double-check for accuracy:
• Your current address as per the electoral roll, as well as previous ones.
• Your name and date of birth
• Whether or not you are on the current electoral register
• Details of your current account provider, but only in terms of any overdrafts
• A list of anyone who is linked to you financially, for instance because you have taken out joint credit together
• Closed and current credit account details, including credit card and bank accounts plus any other credit facilities like loan agreements which are outstanding, or money you owe a utility company. Details are given of timeliness of repayments – any defaults or late or missed payments will remain visible on your report for a minimum of six years.
• If you have been found guilty of committing fraud, or if your identity has been stolen and used to commit fraud, this is also kept on your report
• Information that is a matter of public record, including County Court Judgements (known as ‘decrees’ in Scotland), any property repossessions, individual voluntary arrangements and bankruptcies are kept on your file for a minimum of six years
Even with a good score, there’s no guarantee you will definitely be able to borrow money, since different lenders have varying criteria when it comes to selecting their customers.
**How and when to check your credit report **
It’s always a good idea to check your report ahead of application for a major credit commitment such as taking out a mortgage. But, equally, a regular check to ensure there are no errors is a great way to keep on top of things.
If you’ve never seen a copy of your credit report before, or if you haven’t checked it for a while, it may be worth getting a copy of it from all three main agencies. Each one may have different information, even though there will also be an amount of overlap.
And, finally, don’t forget to look out for our next blog post, in which we give tips on how to improve your credit rating.