These days, the contents of your credit report can affect your quality of life – from whether you can rent a flat, find a job, or obtain financing for a car, home, or personal loan. With your credit score representing you so often, it’s important to know how to read your credit report, and spot items that could hurt your financial future.
How do I get my credit report?
There are three credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax, and CallCredit. By law, these credit reference agencies must supply you with a credit report for a fixed fee of £2. To obtain your credit report, have your personal information ready and contact one of these agencies.
What information is included in my credit report?
All of your credit accounts, from credit cards to personal loans, are included in your report. Along with a listing of the name of the creditor, type of account, and amount lent and still owed, is a detailed payment history. If you’re overdue or have defaulted on a loan, that information will show up as a negative on your credit report. Overdue payments are not always reported to a credit reference agency; this is up to the individual creditor. If you find negatives on your credit report, and they’re not accurate, contact the creditor and the reference agency to see if the negative can be removed. It’s important to scan your report for accounts that you did not open, or high balances you did not charge, as this indicates identity fraud.
What is a national credit score?
A national credit score is a number calculated based on the contents of your credit report, from payment history, to how many accounts you have open, to how much of your credit limit you have spent. This is the number credit providers are going to look at when determining if you’re eligible to be given a loan or credit card. In the UK, the credit score varies from credit reference agency to credit reference agency. For example, if you’re using Experian to discover your credit score, your national credit score will fall into one of the following ranges:
- Very Poor
- Below 299
- 300 – 349
- 350 – 399
- 400 – 474
- 475 and above
A score below “good” (under 400) will mean much higher interest rates, while a score of “poor” or “very poor” could mean a denial of credit, depending on the credit provider.
It’s important to know what’s in your credit report, as well as your credit score, so you can clear up any inaccuracies and try to reverse the damage of negatives. For the health of your financial future, obtain your credit report now.