United Kingdom
Questions and Answers

We provide a link to services which allow you to see your own credit file and commercial credit checking.

Below are questions and answers which address some of the most common things we are asked.

What are Credit Reference Agencies?
These are companies that collect address, identity, and credit information from various sources, and combine the information to produce a credit report. The main UK credit reference agencies hold personal credit files on almost every adult in the United Kingdom. Commercial companies, banks, credit cards, and other financial businesses may also keep their own records about your repayments for their own purposes, and they may also share this information with credit reference agencies. The credit reference agencies put all the data together and the result can be used to paint a picture of a persons overall credit worthiness.

What information is shown on my file?
A credit file can show if you are listed on the Electoral Roll and any previous addresses you have lived at, and whether any county court judgments (CCJs) have been registered against you at any of these addresses. The records generally go back 6 years. Anything older than this tends to be removed, so if you have had problems on your file you effectively get a clean start once that information is removed after 6 years. How quickly you pay any existing loans, or credit cards may be shown, and mortgage payments can also be revealed. If you have run a business as sole trader or partnership (not as a Limited company) these records my be included too.

Who uses credit reference agency information?
The credit files held by the credit reference agencies are used by lenders when a person makes a credit application with them. The lenders can look at the information that has been compiled about the applicant, and use this to help them decide whether the applicant appears to be a good credit risk. Lenders that may use credit reference agency files include banks and building societies when considering loans or mortgages, catalogue companies and shops that offer credit facilities, and credit card companies.

How do lenders decide whether I am credit worthy?
Lenders may use a credit reference agency files as part of their credit checking, and may also assess any separate information that you may provide to them yourself. If the lender uses a credit reference agency, they will look at the information that has been compiled about you and this may influence their decision. Some lenders use 'credit scoring' to arrive at a decision.

What is 'credit scoring'?
Some lenders have set criteria for deciding whether a person is a reasonable credit risk. They use these criteria so that they can remain objective and consistent when making lending decisions. For example, they may award you points for things that they feel are positive indicators, and subtract points if they find information that they feel is not acceptable to them. Each lender will have their own 'credit scoring' techniques.

My credit application has been turned down, what can I do?
Only the company that turned you down can tell you why. They do not have to give you exact reasons, but they should give you an idea, and must tell you if they used a credit agency. If they used a credit agency, they must give you the contact details, and you can then apply to the agency for a copy of your credit file. The credit file may reveal adverse information which you can then consider. If the information is true and accurate, then it cannot be removed. However, you can remove any inaccurate data provided you can prove it is wrong, and you can in some circumstances be allowed to place some comments on your own file, for example to explain the reasons for previous debt problems or defaults. You can also amend any information which has appeared on your file which is not about you, or is about someone who you have no financial connection with.