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Credit reference agencies in UK

There are three major credit reference agencies; these are Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. Their job is to obtain information on all the financial aspects of your life and sell this information to certain organisations that will pay them for it.

This information is used by lenders such as banks and building societies in order to determine how credit worthy you are, that is how likely you are to repay any money they might lend to you.

These agencies produce credit reports which are a complete history of all your credit accounts, including credit limits and loan details, and how well you have managed them. For instance, it will have information on any payments you have missed and any loans on which you might have defaulted.

It will also list any County Court judgements (CCJs), bankruptcies or if you have had your home repossessed. There are also details of your current account and if you have gone overdrawn without authorisation. This information is kept for six years. Every time your record is searched by a company a record is kept of who searches your account and the date. This information is kept for two years.

Anybody can check their own file to see if there are any errors or if there are entries or information with which they do not agree. The cheapest method is by post and by paying a nominal fee of £2.00 you can get it sent to you. You can also obtain it on-line. This is more convenient though a little more expensive.

If there is any incorrect information on it you can have it changed as long as you can demonstrate that it is incorrect. Sometimes there will be financial information regarding someone with whom you might once have had some sort of financial association. If this is the case you can insist that you are financially disassociated from this person.

Sometimes there might be entries that are correct but harmful to your credit rating. If this is the case and you have an explanation, then you are allowed to post a note explaining the situation. This is called a Notice of Correction.

If you are seeking a loan, or engaging in a debt management scheme, it is advisable that you check your credit report, as any errors could adversely affect the outcome of your application.

by: Hollie Wilcox

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