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What your credit record really tells lenders

Fact Checked

Your credit record gives a lender the information they use to help them decide if you can get credit with them or not. Using your previous borrowing history and current debts as evidence it will help them work out how reliable a borrower you are and whether you can afford to repay the money you want to borrow.

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What can lenders see?

How much you owe

Lenders will be able to see details of all your credit accounts. This includes any mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans you might have along with utility company bills.

Repayment habits

Your credit record also shows your repayment history for all your credit accounts and will show any missed or late credit repayments over the last 6 years.

Where you've lived

Your credit report will show where you live, how long you've been there and if you are registered on the electoral roll. Your addresses from the last six years or more could also be visible to a lender.

Application history

Each time you apply for a financial product, like a credit card, mortgage or loan, it leaves a ‘footprint’ on your credit record. If you make several applications over a short period of time , it may look like you are struggling to manage your money. . Applications for buy-now-pay later agreements won’t show up on your credit record, however, as lenders only do a ‘soft’ search rather than a full ‘hard’ credit check.

Financial associations

Your credit report will also show any people you have a financial connection with, for example a partner on a joint account or someone you have a mortgage with. If they have a poor credit record, it could have a negative effect on your credit score and impact on your ability to borrow. Fraud history

If you've been the victim of fraud, it will appear on your credit report through the UK's Fraud Prevention Service CIFAS register. This shouldn't adversely affect your access to credit.

Court & public records

Your credit report will show if you have been declared bankrupt, had an IVA and if you've had any CCJs. Your credit report will also show if any of these arrangements have been satisfied.

What else does a lender check?

You will give personal and financial information as a part of an application, such as:

  • Your name

  • Your address

  • Your income

  • If you have other forms of credit

Your credit record can confirm some of this information, like your address and whether you have access to credit elsewhere.

What isn’t shown in your credit record?

Importantly, lenders won’t be able to see how much money you have - for example the balance of your current and savings account, or how much you earn.

They also won’t be able to see any history of parking and driving fines or whether you have council tax arrears. 

Student loans won’t be included either.

Currently, buy now, pay later debts from the likes of Klarna don’t appear, but that situation could change in the months and years ahead as the industry works more closely with regulators and credit reference agencies. 

How to check your credit record

The best way to understand your credit record is to check it. Each of the three credit referencing agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) will let you view your credit record free of charge and this can be done online at their websites or you can request one in the post.

This also gives you the opportunity to check that all the information in it is accurate.

Can you dispute your record?

Yes, if you find information on your credit record that is incorrect, you can either:

  • Contact the credit reference agency to correct it

  • Ask the company that holds the wrong information, like your bank, to correct it

If it isn’t possible to have information amended you may be able to add a brief ‘notice of correction’. This could help explain isolated missed payments for example.

Here is what to do if your credit applications gets declined

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