When you are looking for a deal on a new credit card, personal loan or mortgage, it is always worth checking your credit first. This is because without realising it, you could have a poor credit score that means your application is rejected. A rejection for credit can damage your credit score further, making it even harder to get accepted in the future.
There are ways you can check your credit report for free, such as by signing up for a free trial with a major credit reference agency such as Experian or Equifax. Once you’ve filled in all of the required information, usually relating to past addresses and names, you are likely to be faced with an awful lot of information. This can be difficult to make sense of, leaving you unable to work out if your credit history and score is good or bad.
To clear up any confusion about what’s in your credit file, here are a few of the types of information you can expect to see and what each actually means.
Names and addresses
This is the information provided by you in relation to where you’ve lived before and what other names you might have gone by. You should check this information very carefully, because if anything is even slightly inaccurate it could lead to missing credit records or another person’s credit history being linked to your own.
This section of the credit report will list all of the lenders and companies you have had dealings with in the last few years. Everything from mobile phone contracts and store cards to utilities accounts will be included, as well as credit cards, loans, mortgages and maybe even current accounts. If you see a company name you don’t recognise – don’t panic. It is likely that a lender you have dealt with has a parent company or trades under a different name, which you can find out simply by looking it up.
As well as listing your previous credit agreements, your credit report is likely to include a full month-by-month list of all payments you have made as part of credit agreements. Importantly, it also records payments you’ve missed, which can damage your credit score and threaten any future credit card applications.