Your credit record is a report card that shows your financial history. It shows whether you pay your bills on time, how much debt you have, how many times you've applied for credit, whether you've missed any payments, and if you've had any county court judgments (CCJs) filed against you.
Other things it records include:
Your current and previous addresses
Any other applications you have made
Any time a company has checked your credit record in the last two years
Financial links with anyone you share an account with, e.g. joint mortgage
Banks and lenders use this record to assess whether you are a reliable borrower.
Information for your credit record is compiled by the three main credit referencing agencies (CRA) Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Banks, lenders, and utility companies report into these agencies with information regarding your finances.
When you apply for a loan or credit card, the lender will perform a credit check.This helps them understand how you've managed your finances in the past will determine whether you are approved for credit.
For example, if you have a history of missed payments, you could be denied credit, or you may have to apply for credit products that are aimed at people with bad credit.
If you want to, you can access your credit record and check all the information is up to date and correct. It's important to check your credit record at least once a year or before you apply for credit to make sure you don't have any mistakes or fraudulent activity on your record, as this may affect your ability to get credit in the future.
You get credit checked when you apply for credit, including applications for:
Every time a company runs a credit search, it shows up on your credit history for about two years.
You can sign up to check what is on your credit record with a credit reference agency, like:
Most of these credit reference agencies offer an in-depth look at your credit history, called a statutory report, for a small fee. Find out more about what you can do to improve your credit record