It’s the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your financial health. But what exactly does your credit report reveal about you?
Your credit report is used to back up your credit score, showing your financial behaviour for the past six years. In short, it’s a snapshot of how well (or how poorly) you manage your money.
So, what sort of things are captured on your file? Here’s what to expect when you download your report, and tips on how to improve your credit fitness for the future.
Your personal details
Your full name, date of birth and current address can be found on your credit report. While these aren’t used in credit scoring, it’s important to make sure these are accurate and up-to-date so lenders can confirm who you are.
If you haven’t built up a credit history yet, make sure you are on the electoral register so your address can be linked to your account. For people who have never paid bills or used a credit card (such as students), this is step one in building your score.
Any current borrowing
Before approving loan applications, lenders want to know how much credit you already have. This helps them know whether you can really afford to borrow more. They’ll be able to see open accounts and any revolving accounts on your credit file. The information will show who existing lenders are, the type of credit you have with them (like a loan, credit card or store card), your credit limit, and how much is outstanding.
A general rule of thumb is to stick to spending around 30% or less of your total credit limit. This keeps your ‘credit utilisation ratio’ down, which helps to boost your score and shows lenders that you’re not relying on the credit to get by.
Your credit history
Your full credit history will include past accounts that have been opened and/or closed in the past six years –and it’s not just loans and credit cards that flag up. Any borrowing from a financial institution will be listed, like:
- Personal loans
- Credit cards
- Utilities (gas and electric accounts)
- Financing (cars and other big purchases)
- Mobile phone accounts
- Store cards
Got money skeletons? You’ll find them lurking here too. Your report will show whether accounts were left in good standing or whether you had issues paying money back.
Missed payments and adverse events
Missed or late payments can be seen on your file, usually for up to six years. If you want to protect your score and keep your credit report looking healthy, never miss a bill date. Set up reminders on your phone, or use Direct Debit and standing orders to keep everything in check.
As well as missed payments, any other adverse history will show up on your credit report. This could be:
- CCJs (County Court Judgements)
- IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements)
Been turned down for credit recently? Every time you apply for loans or credit of any kind, it will appear on your credit report. Multiple applications in a short space of time can look a little desperate to lenders, so apply with caution.
Use a credit card eligibility checker or personal loan eligibility checker before diving straight in with an application. Checking your credit report and score regularly will also let you know where you stand as a potential customer.
Lenders will also be able to see your financial connections. This could be your other half or a family member who you share money responsibilities with (like a shared bank account or mortgage).
Remember that your borrowing behaviour can impact your connections, and vice versa. While credit scores aren’t affected directly, it could shape how a lender views you - so be sure to manage your money responsibly to keep each other in the clear.
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