Credit Report FAQ
About credit scores and improving yours
You do not have just one credit score or credit rating. Each bank,
credit card, store card, or finance company will use their own methods to set their own
There are companies that build credit scoring models, the most widely
used scoring models are those developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation who developed the
FICO scores. Lenders may ask a company such as Fair Isaac to develop a risk model
appropriate to their lending criteria.
The credit reference agencies may also commission a risk score model,
not for their own purposes, but as a value added extra to provide lenders who source their
credit reports from the credit reference agency. The credit agencies are competing against
each other to be the preferred source for the lenders credit report information. Receiving
a broadly defined credit score as part of the credit report may interest lenders who do
not require a more specific credit score developed for themselves. The credit reference
agencies may also offer this same general credit score to consumers searching their own
credit report. Although lenders may have their own credit scoring model, some may receive
the general guideline credit score offered by the credit agency.
If youve never had any credit or loans, you may think you will
automatically get a good credit score and that with no other credit or debt you would be a
highly attractive proposition to lenders. However, lenders often prefer to give credit to
people where their credit report shows some track record and experience at handling
credit. Rather than no credit at all, lenders like to see a history of making repayments
on time and in full. If youve never had a credit arrangement then they have no real
way to know how you may handle it in the future. Some lenders may even reject applications
on this basis. In this position you may need to start by applying for very small, low risk
amounts of credit which a lender will consider an acceptable risk even without any credit
history on your credit report. After building up a credit history showing you have repaid
consistently and never missed any payment, your credit report will appear more positive to
lenders in the future.
Make sure you are listed on the Voters Roll and if possible avoid moving
address frequently. Most people move house once occasionally, but remain in the same house
for a few years before moving again. If you appear to move address frequently a lender may
consider you as being potentially harder to trace in the event that you default on a loan.
If your name is not on the electoral roll, contact your Local Authority and ask them to
add it. The Local Authority will then notify all credit reference agencies and the records
are normally amended within 28 days of receipt.
Paying all your utility bills promptly and paying all store and credit
cards promptly will give you a stronger credit history.
If a credit account which is shown on your credit report has been
settled, but it is not shown as settled on your credit report, contact the lender
concerned and ask them to notify all the credit reference agencies.
If you were the subject of a county court judgment (CCJ) or Scottish
decree, and you have paid it, make sure it is shown as satisfied on your credit report. If
it is not, contact the relevant court quoting the case number. They will arrange for the
record to be updated and the credit reference agencies should be told within two weeks. If
you believe a judgment or decree has been incorrectly registered, contact the court in
If you see your credit report and it shows that any companies have
searched your report more than once as a result of the same credit application, you may
want to ask the company to delete the duplicate searches. The companies that have access
to searching the credit reference agency files can request their own duplicate searches to
If your credit report shows you as being linked to addresses that you
have never been connected with, you can ask the company who made the link to delete it.
All the credit reference agencies will then be notified and
If other people who live in your home are recorded on your report, you
can ask for these to be removed if you do not share any financial connection with them. A
financial connection is, for example, a joint account, a joint debt, or joint tenancy with
that person. If none of these apply, then you can contact the credit reference agency that
lists the other person on your report and inform them of the changes
you want to make.
If there is some adverse information on your credit report, and you can
offer a valid explanation that you would like lenders to consider, you can contact the
credit reference agency and ask for a Notice of Correction. This is a statement of up to
200 words which you can place on your own credit file, for example to explain why an
account went overdrawn, or why you missed any repayments. Any future lender who searches
your report will see the notice when they see the information it relates to.
Credit reference agencies generally advise people to avoid credit repair
companies. If you need to make changes to your credit file, you can do so yourself by
contacting the credit reference agencies. Credit repair companies usually charge more than
the cost of getting your own credit report, and they cannot even make sure that changes
are made to your credit report.
Do not run up unnecessary searches on your credit file by making credit
applications which are rejected when they could have gone through first time if you were
more careful with the information you provided to the lender. When making credit
applications, ensure the information you provide is always complete and correct. Lenders
want to see your full credit history to help them make a decision, so it is important to
provide your full address details. Inaccuracies or omissions may affect your ability to
obtain credit, and if you are declined, the lenders search will still show on your credit
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