Thought it was only lending companies who look at your credit history?
Well, you can think again! You might be familiar with having your credit report checked out by a lender or a mortgage provider – but they’re not the only ones who could be giving your report a good going-over. Let’s take a look…
Believe it or not, prospective employers may ask to see your credit history. Whilst the check is mainly used to prove you are who you say you are, it also gives them an idea of how reliable you are. If you have a poor credit history, they could worry that your financial behaviour could impact your job performance. Say you’re after a job in finance… they’ll need to know you can handle your own finances first!
Law and finance companies are legally obliged to check employee’s credit histories, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in other fields too. Don’t worry though – they’ll only perform a soft search, so it won’t have any effect on your score.
Yep, if you’re looking for new digs, don’t be surprised if the landlord requests to see your credit history. Equifax, Experian and Callcredit all offer tenant checks, so landlords can assess the reliability of their future tenants. Again, they’ll only perform a soft search, so you don’t need to worry about any lasting footprints on your report!
Like employers, they can access your credit history but they won’t see your actual score. What they will see is your previous addresses, how long you’ve lived at those addresses, and whether you’ve got an adverse credit history. For example, if you’ve had a CCJ or a personal insolvency in the past, it’ll flag up. Landlords may look unfavourably upon mistakes like these, as they might think they’ll affect your ability to make rent payments.
Changing your energy provider? With credit checks being carried out by the likes of British Gas, Npower, SSE, Scottish Power, EDF and E.ON, chances are that you’ll be asked to share your credit history – especially if you plan to pay by Direct Debit.
In a similar fashion to other credit checks, energy suppliers use these checks to confirm that you are who you say you are. Your credit report will also confirm that you actually live at the property where your energy will be supplied, helping suppliers to crack down on fraud.
You might wonder why you can’t simply provide proof of address to reassure suppliers… well, another key reason suppliers check your credit history is to assess your level of risk before entering into a contract with you. They’ll look at your report to make sure that you’ve not missed any payments in the past, so you won’t be likely to default on your tariff.
Before signing up with a new provider, be sure to check whether they’ll carry out a hard search on you, as this could affect your score.
What should I do if I have a bad credit history?
First thing’s first, don’t panic too much. While these bodies can check your credit history, they’ll only tend to look for your electoral background and whether you’ve defaulted in the past. Don’t forget, no one can check your credit history without your permission!
If you have received a County Court Judgement and you’re worried about the effects this could have on you, don’t worry – all is not lost. There are ways you can improve your credit score to look more attractive to any of the previously mentioned people.
A good place to start is by looking at your history using a free credit-checking service (like ClearScore or Noddle) to see if you have any outstanding mistakes or defaults on your report.
Remember, you can set aside CCJ’s if you settle them within the first month of receiving them. For more information, head over here.
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Intelligent Lending Ltd (Credit Broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender.