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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 credit limits.

  • 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 you’ve 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 you’ve 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 question.

  • 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 be deleted.

  • 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 records amended.

  • 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 file.

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