What is a credit report?

A credit report contains information about your financial behaviour in the last six years. This can include information about your mortgage, credit card, overdraft, loan, mobile phone contract, and even utilities such as gas, electricity and water. If you're over 18 and you’ve taken out credit or borrowed money before, credit reference agencies like Experian are likely to hold a credit report on you.

How do lenders use your credit report?

Lenders use information from your credit report – along with your application form and their own records – to get insight into your Data Self. This is a version of you that’s made up of things like your credit history. Lenders use this information to understand how well you manage your finances, and it helps them decide whether to lend to you.

What’s in your credit report?

Your credit report contains information that helps lenders confirm your identity and see if you're a reliable borrower, such as:

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Account information

A view of credit accounts you’ve had and whether you’ve made repayments on time and in full. Missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, as do bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements, and court judgments for non-payment of debts.

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Financial connections

A list of people who have a financial connection with you, such as a joint mortgage or bank account. These people are known as your financial associates. Their credit history doesn’t appear in your report, but lenders can view it when you apply for credit. This is because your financial associates’ circumstances may affect your ability to repay money.

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Address details

Electoral roll information for your current address and previous addresses, which you provide when you register to vote. Your report also includes addresses you’ve been linked to in the past, such as those you’ve given to lenders on application forms.

Where does the information in your credit report come from?

The information in your credit report comes from two major sources:

  • Public information - This includes electoral roll information and court judgments.
  • Credit history information - Many lenders share information on what you owe, and whether you’ve paid on time. You’ll be notified of this as part of any application for credit. Some lenders only contribute information on accounts that have defaulted, but these days most share monthly updates on all customers.

When should you check your credit report?

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If you’re changing job or moving home

Two credit cards

If you’re applying for credit

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If you're worried about ID fraud

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