Credit Reports and Credit Files

These two terms means the same. They are the overall term for information held on you by the credit reference agencies.

The agencies create your credit file or credit report from two sources.

One is public information, such as the electoral roll and postcodes.

The other is information provided by banks, building societies, finance companies and even mobile phone companies. It is factual information about loans you have with them at present and had in the recent past.

Lenders usually are online permanently to credit reference agencies. They add the information to their own criteria to come up with a credit score. Most lenders use automated systems so there is no human involvement. This means anything unusual in your favour will not be noted. At the end of the process, the lender will decide whether or not to give you a loan. Credit reference agencies do not themselves make the decision to lend you money or turn you down but they have a big influence.

You might find information in your credit report about someone else. It can only be someone with whom you have, or had, a joint credit account. If you no longer have joint credit, you can ask to be disassociated from this person. This is worth doing if the other person has a poor credit history. This can include other family members at your home or previous occupants.

If any other name appears, that is a mistake and you should tell the credit reference agency.

Information stays on your credit file for six years. So whatever you did – good or bad – will stick around for six years.

A lender should tell you if it refused you credit because of information held by a credit reference agency. But most will refuse to be specific.

You can check your credit report by contacting the credit reference agencies. If you believe any information shown on your file is wrong, you can tell the lender or dispute it with the credit reference agency.


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