Credit report FAQs

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Got a question that’s not covered by our credit report page, or a query that you’d like to know more about? We have compiled these FAQs to help answer your niggling questions.

Will a credit report show County Court Judgements?

Unless you repay the full amount within one month of the judgement, any recent CCJs will show on your file. Information about CCJs is taken from the public register where judgements remain visible for six years. Unfortunately, there’s no way to remove a CCJ before the six years is up and they will show even if the amount is settled.

Can a credit report affect employment?

Some employers such as financial institutions will ask permission to check your credit report as a pre-employment check. It’s likely these checks will only look at publicly held data such as whether you’ve got any CCJs or have been declared bankrupt and whether you are registered to vote at the address you have told your potential employer you live. Policies vary between companies and organisations, but you’re more likely to be credit checked for positions that involve money handling where poor management of your own money can be seen as a warning flag.

Can a credit report be run without my permission?

No, you must give permission for someone to check your credit report. For example, when you apply for credit or if a potential employer or landlord wants to run a check they must ask you to sign a release to give your permission. With this in mind, you can only check your own credit report and not your partner’s or those of your adult children. If you’re concerned that financial connections with them such as holding a joint account could be impacting your credit score, you could close these accounts and ask reference agencies to separate you. When you’re searching for financial products and services, be sure to check whether a credit check is used or a soft search that doesn’t leave a mark on your credit file.

Can I dispute the findings of my credit report?

Yes. If you spot an entry on your credit report that you don’t recognise or isn’t recorded accurately you should write to the agency and ask that the discrepancy be corrected. It’s a good idea to send copy of any proof you have to speed up the process. For example, if you have closed a bank account or settled a loan, ask the original provider to provide a confirmation of this. If you have trouble correcting anything on your credit report you can contact the Financial Ombudsman for help.

If there is information contained within your report that you think is not a fair representation of your current situation, you could also consider adding a short note of circumstance on your report. For example, if you were late with a few payments when you unexpectedly lost your job but have since found a new job and brought your accounts up to date you can add a note to explain the situation. This won’t change your credit score but may be reviewed as part of applications.

Which credit report service do mortgage lenders use?

Different providers work with different agencies and you may notice the name of the agencies they work with in the terms and conditions when you’re asked to give permission for a search. You will find some information on which mortgage lenders use which reference agencies in this table compiled by Moneysavingexpert.

Which credit report service do banks use?

As above, when you make an application for credit before you give permission for a credit search to be carried out you may spot the name of the agency or agencies the bank or other lender uses. It’s worth noting that this could vary for different products sold by what appears to be the same bank or building society. Take a look at the Moneysavingexpert table linked above for further information.

What information will my credit report NOT show?

Your credit report is designed to give a good overview of your past borrowing behaviour and current situation but there are things that don’t feature in it that may surprise you.

If you hold bank accounts that were opened before the Data Protection Act of 1998, your bank may not share information about that account with a credit reference agency. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that since lenders don’t share information with all credit agencies; some entries may appear to be missing from your report.

Your credit report won’t show information about different direct debits etc that are set up on your current accounts but it may report on things like whether your utility account payments are up to date. And as outlined above, information about County Court Judgements made over six years ago won’t appear on your report.

When it comes to credit applications, though a full credit search will leave a footprint on your credit report, it won’t state whether the application was rejected.

Do credit reports from different providers contain different information?

You should expect credit reports from different providers to contain broadly similar information. They should all contain the same information about publicly held details such as if and where you are registered to vote and details of any CCJs or bankruptcy. However, since lenders work with different agencies it may not contain full details on all of your borrowing or show footprints for credit searches carried out by all agencies.

How long does it take for a credit report to reflect changes in my personal circumstances?

Banks, building societies, credit card providers and other lenders usually update credit agencies on a monthly basis. With this in mind, it could take 30 to 45 days to see your credit report update with information about an account that has been paid off or closed or new borrowing. Public registers are also updated on a monthly basis and used to update relevant credit reports.

Are credit reports confidential?

You must give someone permission to check your credit report. However, consent to check your credit report remains attached to a debt. This means that if your debt is sold on, a company that has bought your debt may check your credit report for debt recovery purposes.

Will a credit report affect my credit score?

Since your credit score is calculated using information in your credit report it’s critical that the information held within your report is correct. In some cases, if you have a very limited borrowing history and agencies are unable to compile enough data about you, they may be unable to formulate a credit score for you.

Do landlords need credit reports for their tenants?

When a landlord gives you a tenancy agreement they are extending a form of credit to you because they don’t ask for all of your rent for the entire time you’re planning to live in the property up front. That simply wouldn’t be practical! As part of pre-letting checks they will usually carry out a basic credit check with your permission, looking at publicly held information such as whether you’ve ever been made bankrupt or if you have a CCJ. They could also act for proof of income such as copies of your payslips to ensure that you can afford to pay the rent.

How long is a credit report valid for?

Your credit report will change and update in line with your financial activity, which is why we recommended checking your report regularly. If you miss a payment or make a new application this will appear on your report once the credit agency has received the information from the relevant parties. If you’d like to keep a closer check on your report, our credit monitoring service notifies you when any updates or changes are made to your credit report.