How to get hold of your credit report or credit reference report – and why you should

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If someone said something about you that could affect your chances of getting a loan or credit, you’d want to know about it, wouldn’t you? Yet millions of people have never seen their credit report. Find out how to get hold of your credit report or credit reference report – and why you should.

How to get hold of your credit report

A credit report is a snapshot of your credit file. And that’s a file that companies such as banks, credit card providers, loan providers and mobile phone companies check before they agree to give you credit.

Who keeps credit files?

There are four credit reference agencies: CredivaEquifaxExperian, and TransUnion. TransUnion used to be called Callcredit and they each hold credit file information on us. There are also around 20 smaller, newer credit reference agencies.

  • Each of them holds information on every financially active adult in the UK. If you don’t have credit cards or loans your details will still be recorded by a credit reference agency. But your file will have very little information on it.
  • Information is added constantly. Every time you make or miss a payment, every time you take out a new loan or credit card and every time your file is checked (it’s called ‘searched’ in the jargon) by a financial company, this is recorded.

How to get a copy of your credit report free

You can get a copy of your credit report for free from each of the credit reference agencies. It used to cost £2 each time, but that charge was abolished when the GDPR rules were introduced in May 2018.

  • Equifax statutory credit report. You can get a paper or online copy of your statutory credit report on Equifax’s website.
  • Experian statutory credit report. You can get a paper or online copy of your statutory credit report on Experian’s website.
  • Transunion statutory credit report. You can get a paper or online copy of your statutory credit report (don’t worry that the web address says CallCredit – it’s the correct link).

Paying for your credit report

You can also choose to pay for your credit report as part of a package that you pay for. There are extra benefits, but the monthly costs of subscribing can add up. Credit Karma, which used to be called Noddle, lets you see your credit report free for life. You do have to sign up to it.

When should you see your credit report?

If you have never got hold of a copy of your credit report, I’d recommend that you ask for a copy from each of the three major credit reference agencies. It’s probably a good idea to get hold of a copy of your credit report at least once a year to check that the information is correct. If you are thinking of applying for credit, such as a mortgage, for example, get hold of a copy of your credit report four to six months before you apply. That way you will have a chance to correct any information that is not correct.

Related articles:

Ten things you need to know about your credit rating

Understanding default notices; what does a default notice mean for your credit rating?

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