What is a credit score?
A credit report details your personal credit history from the previous 6 years, including mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, loans, mobile phone contracts and even some utilities such as gas, electricity and water. If you're over 18 and have ever taken out credit, a credit reference agency is likely to hold a credit report on you.
A credit report provides a snapshot of your credit accounts, repayment record and how well you are coping with your finances.
Lenders can only look at your report with your permission. They use it, along with information on your application and information they might already have, to decide whether to offer you credit - usually by calculating their own credit score for your application.
They may also use it to decide how much to lend and to charge - for instance, people with an excellent record of handling credit may be offered higher credit limits and lower interest rates.
Your credit report contains information that helps lenders confirm your identity and assess whether you're a reliable borrower. A credit report can include the following information:
A view of credit accounts you’ve had and whether you’ve made repayments on time and in full. Items such as missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, as do court judgments for non-payment of debts, bankruptcies and individual voluntary arrangements.
A view of electoral roll (electoral register) information for your current address and previous addresses you provide when you apply. It also contains details of any other addresses you’ve been linked to in the last six years, such as those you’ve given to lenders on application forms.
A list of the people with whom you have a financial connection, such as a joint mortgage - they are known as your financial associates. Their credit history doesn’t appear in your credit report. However, when you apply for credit, lenders are able to look at their credit history also, as their circumstances could affect your ability to repay what you owe.
Information in your credit report comes from two major sources:
A good way to stay in control of your finances is to check your Experian Credit Report with Experian CreditExpert*.
Experian CreditExpert provides more than just your credit report, including: