What Is On Your Credit Report File In The UK
A firm that is offering you a financial product (including utility companies and store card issuers), insurance, a loan or a mortgage will likely require a credit check with one of the UK’s three credit reference agencies. Naturally, there is a risk to the credit granter, so your credit circumstances must be analysed before granting the credit account. In the UK, the three major credit reference agencies that provide credit files are Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.
Typically, the following information will be included on your UK credit report:
1. Full name.
2. Birth date.
3. Current address.
4. All available previous addresses.
5. Any court judgements/decrees that are on public record.
6. Repossessions for up to six years after the occurrence.
7. Bankruptcies for up to six years after the occurrence.
8. Any open credit accounts and any relevant available information (credit limit or loan amount and the dates the accounts were open, if provided by the lender/creditor).
9. Mortgage loans.
10. Catalogue/mail order, and shop accounts.
11. Late and missed payment history, including the number of times the payment was missed, if provided by the lender/creditor.
12. Account overdrafts, if provided by the financial institution.
13. If you are currently listed on the electoral register.
14. A list of inquiries from any lenders, creditors, or organisations who have examined your credit reference file. The type of search and date are also included.
15. Any payment arrangements you have previously made with lenders/creditors in the past and if you maintained your promises. If the arrangements are on-going and being paid on time, this will be noted as well.
16. If you have been a victim of identity fraud and you have a notification of file from CIFAS (The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, on the web: www.cifas.org.uk). This ensures any requests for new accounts will be scrutinised and not just given away to a potential fraudster.
Your credit file should not contain your other personal information such as salary, criminal record, sexual preference or religious preference. However, it may contain affiliations with people connected to you. For example, if you have taken out joint credit with anyone else (see also Requesting a Removal of Aliases from a Credit Reference Report (UK)).
Consumers should ensure the accuracy of credit files regularly. You can request your UK multi agency credit report from instantly with online services such as www.checkmyfile.com. Alternatively, you may request a copy of your credit file individually online or via post (see also U.K. Credit Report Request Letter) for a £2 fee thanks to the Data Protection Act 1998 which was authorised by an Act of Parliament. Because victims of identity fraud are particularly vulnerable, they are allowed free access to their own credit files to ensure continued accuracy. Unless the agency needs more information from you for verification purposes, you should receive your file within seven business days (unless you attempt to order online which yields instant results).
Contact information for the three major credit reference agencies:
Experian Credit Report Services
PO Box 1135
WA55 1 EP
Credit File Advice Centre
PO Box 1140
PO Box 491
You may need to provide more detailed information to a credit reference agency before they will release your information. This is a slight inconvenience but it is to protect against errors or other people fraudulently obtaining your private information. If this occurs, the agency will send you a letter asking for specific information (e.g. utility bill or bank statements). Keep this letter and send it back via recorded delivery with your verification items.
Once your information is verified, the credit agency will review it and release your credit file if you have satisfactorily demonstrated and confirmed your identity.
Information contained in the UK by the credit reference agencies is held for a six year period after the account was last active. If you happen to find inaccuracies, you should first contact the appropriate lender or creditor before attempting to dispute the information with the individual credit reference agency. If the information on your file is incorrect, the creditor must update the file with the credit reference agencies and internally to ensure consistency and accuracy.
If you cannot resolve the issue with the lender within a reasonable period of time (typically 28 days), you may then contact the credit reference agency that is reporting inaccurate data.
If you cannot resolve the inaccuracy with the lender/creditor or the credit reference agencies, you may attach a 200-word personal statement to your credit report for no additional fees. Your statement must clearly state the nature of your disagreement and will remain on your credit file indefinitely. Each time your credit file is accessed, this statement will be included.
One final note: There is no official “blacklist” against individuals that lenders will automatically deny credit.