United Kingdom
Questions about Credit Reports

This web site provides access to services providing both UK consumer credit checks and UK business credit reports online. Consumer checks are here Consumer Credit Checks.

Below are answers to some of the more common questions people have about credit reports and credit reference agency files.

What services do you provide?

We provide Business Credit Reports on any UK company or business, and consumer credit checks. For reports on consumers see the Consumer Credit Checks service.

  • See what the lenders see on personal credit reports
  • See any notes on the credit file for lenders to see
  • See ID and credit data applicable to your search type

Who holds personal credit files on me and why?
The main UK credit reference agencies hold personal credit files on almost every adult living in the United Kingdom. Any bank, credit card, or other lending company may keep their own records about your repayments for their own purposes, and they may also share this information with credit reference agencies. The credit reference agencies put together all the information they have gathered from different lenders and create credit files which can be used to help assess a persons credit worthiness.

What data appears on credit reports?
Consumers personal credit reports are likely to show whether you are listed on the Electoral Roll, whether any county court judgments (CCJs) have been registered against you at your current or previous addresses during the last six years, whether you are registered as a bankrupt, and how promptly you settle your payments on any credit agreements. Your payment habits may be shown for your credit cards, store cards, catalogue companies, or other loans and credit. If you have run your own business as sole trader or partnership (not as a Limited company) information related to this may be shown. There may also be incorrect information about you, or information about someone else who lives or has lived at your address, and this information can be removed if it is incorrect or unfairly damaging to your credit status.

Where does the information in my credit report come from?
The credit reference agencies get their data from banks, credit card companies, and other lenders. This data typically shows how quickly a person pays their account and may also show the credit limits they have been granted and any slow or defaulted payments. The credit reference agencies also get information from public records, such as the Electoral Roll, county court judgements, and bankruptcy records.

Who uses credit reference agency information?
The credit files held by the credit reference agencies are used by lenders when a person makes a credit application with them. The lenders can look at the information that has been compiled about the applicant, and use this to help them decide whether the applicant appears to be a good credit risk. Lenders that may use credit reference agency files include banks and building societies when considering loans or mortgages, catalogue companies and shops that offer credit facilities, and credit card companies.

Is there a credit reference agency consumer 'blacklist'?
No, credit reference agencies do not have 'blacklists'. They do not themselves give an opinion about whether you are credit worthy. The credit agencies simply compile and hold the credit files and then provide the information to the lenders who draw their own conclusions based on what they find.

How do lenders decide whether I am credit worthy?
Lenders may use a credit reference agency files as part of their credit checking, and may also assess any separate information that you may provide to them yourself. If the lender uses a credit reference agency, they will look at the information that has been compiled about you and this may influence their decision. Some lenders use 'credit scoring' to arrive at a decision.

What is 'credit scoring'?
Some lenders have set criteria for deciding whether a person is a reasonable credit risk. They use these criteria so that they can remain objective and consistent when making lending decisions. For example, they may award you points for things that they feel are positive indicators, and subtract points if they find information that they feel is not acceptable to them. Each lender will have their own 'credit scoring' techniques.

I've been turned down for credit what can I do?
No-one has an automatic right to credit. Before lending, most lenders will check your credit file with a credit reference agency. If you are refused credit the credit reference agency will not be able to tell you why - it is the lender who looks at your credit file and decides if you are an acceptable risk. A lender does not have to tell you exactly why they turned you down, although they should give you some idea. If they turned you down because of your credit file you have the right to ask which credit reference agency they used. You can then obtain your credit files from the agency and confirm that the information shown about you is correct and fair. If there is an error or misleading information on your file you may be able to ask the lender to reconsider your application once you have rectified the problem. Please note that we cannot answer any questions you have about why you were refused credit. You must ask the lender that turned you down.

How can I improve my credit rating?
You do not have just one overall credit rating as each lender will have their own method for interpreting the data available to them. However, there are some things that could influence how much of a credit risk you may appear. You should be listed on the Electoral Roll because this may give the lender more confidence that the address you have given is really where you live. If you have only been at your current address a short while, it helps if you were on the Electoral Roll at your previous addresses. Lenders may be understandably reluctant to lend if it appears that you have no traceable history or move about frequently. Having a connected telephone number for your name and address is evidence of at least one regular bill that you are clearly paying within acceptable terms. If you have no county court judgments or bankruptcy registered against you at your current or previous addresses this is a positive factor. If you have any credit agreements, especially credit cards, your credit files may show how promptly you pay some of your monthly accounts. If you regularly and consistently make all your payments to terms this can give other lenders more confidence. Paying by Direct Debit can help you to avoid accidentally being late with a payment, for example because you are away on holiday.

Can I see my credit report?
Yes, you are legally entitled to make an application to see your credit report and the credit files held by the credit reference agencies.

What can I do if I have questions about what is on my credit report?
You can correct any mistakes on your credit report, and you can also amend any information that has appeared on your file which is about other people with whom you have no financial connection. When you apply to see your files the credit agency will also include some information which tells you how you can ask them to amend any incorrect information.