Anyone over the age of 18 who has ever secured credit will more than likely have a credit report. A credit report contains information about a person’s credit history. Details about mortgages, overdrafts, homeowner loans, mobile phone contracts, credit cards and some utility bills will be included.
Lenders use credit reports as part of the assessment process when determining whether or not to approve a loan. The report provides them with a snapshot of how an individual copes with their finances.
Lenders must have permission to view a credit report. They will use it alongside additional information to calculate an individual credit score. Lenders use the credit score and report to work out if they can offer a loan, how much it will be and the charges they will apply to the account. In principle, those who have an exemplary credit report may be offered lower rates of interest and their credit limits may be higher.
A credit report typically contains details that will help lenders to assess how reliable a person is as a borrower. They will also use the information to check the identity of the applicant. It may contain the following things.
The electoral roll register will provide a view of the applicant’s current name and address. It will also show details of any address they have lived at in the last six years.
A credit report will list credit accounts the applicant holds. It will show whether or not repayments have been made and if they have been made in full. Details of any late or defaulted payments will also be included. Late or missed payments, bankruptcies, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and County Court Judgements (CCJs) will be listed, remaining on the report for six years.
The report will list all those who have shared a financial connection with the report holder. Although there will be no details from the reports of financial associates, lenders may be entitled to review their reports also if it is deemed that their circumstances may impact the applicant’s ability to repay a loan.
There are two main sources of information for a credit report: firstly, information that is available publicly, such as details of court judgements and from the electoral roll; secondly, historical credit information, including loan amounts and details of repayment history, which lenders will often make available. This information may be shared when there has been a default, or updated monthly regardless of status.
Prospective landlords and employers may request to see a credit report in order to assess the suitability of the applicant to rent a home or to take on a position of responsibility. Ensuring the report is in order is essential in making sure it does not impact negatively on employment prospects or being able to take on a new rental contract.
Those wishing to apply for a new credit account should first check that their report is fully up to date. Incorrect information could affect the applicant’s ability to obtain credit. If the information is not accurate, it is important to apply to get the details corrected.
One of the biggest problems today is identity theft. Criminals are using personal information to set up accounts fraudulently. Regular monitoring of a credit report will ensure that the holder is quickly alerted to any unusual activity and that issues are dealt with early on, before they spiral out of control.