Ever heard that you can see the Great Wall of China from the moon?* Have you always thought that bananas grow on trees?** Think bats are blind?***
Lies, lies, lies. You shouldn’t always believe what you read! And the same applies to your credit report.
There’s a load of bad information out there about what does and doesn’t show up on your credit report. Mobile phone bills, missed payments, where you live, who you live with, your salary, what you had for tea last Sunday… what should you believe?!
Well, we won’t stand for these misconceptions anymore. We’re going to separate the truth from the lies once and for all.
Credit reports, history, ratings and scores – what’s the difference?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different terms.
Credit history: This a history of your financial past, kept by the credit reference agencies. We’re not talking ‘This Is Your Life’ here – it only captures the last six years, but it shows how you’ve handled your debt, how much you’ve borrowed and if you’ve repaid it on time.
Credit rating / report: Each of the credit reference agencies generates its own “credit rating” for you. They use your credit history and various other information they hold about you to calculate it. Each does it in a different way – confusing, we know!
Credit score: Both the credit reference agencies and lenders will calculate a credit score based on your credit history and other information they have about you. There’s no single credit score, they all have their own way of calculating it and lenders have their own criteria to decide if they’re willing to accept you for credit.
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty – here’s what does and doesn’t appear on your credit report.
Definitely does appears
- Your name and date of birth
- Whether you’re on the electoral roll at your current address
- Any previous addresses in the last six years
- Existing credit agreements
- All the payments you’ve made on time over the past six years
- Any late or missed payments on existing or old accounts over the same period
- Any CCJs made against you
- Whether you’ve been declared bankrupt or entered into an IVA
- ‘Hard’ searches that have been carried out by lenders on your account
- The names of anyone you have a financial connection with e.g. a joint mortgage
- Fraud that’s been committed using your name or any fraud that you’ve committed using someone else’s name
Definitely doesn’t appear
- Your current account balance (unless you have an overdraft)
- Details of any saving accounts
- Your salary
- Your rent payments (unless you’re signed up to Credit Ladder)
- Student loan information
- Whether you have a criminal record
- Parking or driving fines
- Your medical history
- Any council tax arears
- Information about your gender or ethnicity
- Details of anyone you live with, unless you’re financially associated with them, e.g. a joint mortgage
- What you had for tea last Sunday
There are a few surprises thrown in there to boot!
Your credit report may also include some things you might not expect:
- Details of your utility payments
Utilities count as credit because you receive and use the gas/electric/tv service, whatever it may be, before you pay for it.
But it gets a bit trickier when it comes to the actual reporting. Some utility providers pass on all payment information to the credit reference agencies (such as British Gas, npower and Yorkshire Water). Some will only forward on details of missed payments. Others may not send anything at all.
Whichever way though, don’t miss a bill if you can avoid it. The provider may sell your debt onto collection agencies, who may report to the credit reference agencies anyway.
To find out whether your provider reports to the agencies or not, you can give them a call and ask, or check your credit report and see if they show up.
- Your mobile phone bill
If you have a contract agreement, this will appear on your credit report, so it’s important that you meet your repayments each month.
If you have a pay as you go arrangement, it won’t have an impact at all.
There you have it, now you know exactly what lenders see on your credit report when you apply for credit.
*No man-made structure can be seen from the moon – we checked with Nasa.
**Bananas actually grow on plants which grow really tall, so often get mistaken for trees.
***Bats actually have excellent vision. The bigger ones can see three times better than humans!
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