Who can see your credit report?
Your credit report can be securely accessed by a company if they need information about you – for example, when you request to set up mobile phone contract, apply for a mortgage, or get a loan.
Companies that may look at your credit report:
Mortgage providers will be giving you access to possibly the largest loan of your lifetime, so they need to see your credit report to gauge if you're a reliable borrower, and if you'll be able to make regular repayments.
Lenders and creditors
If you apply for a credit card or a loan, lenders need to see your credit report to assess how well you've managed to repay credit in the past. They'll base their decision on whether to give you credit on your report, as well as the amount they'll let you borrow, and the rate of interest you'll pay.
Insurance companies want to check your credit history to decide whether they should insure you, and if they do, the cost of your premium and how you should pay.
A history of late payments or significant debt may mean you have to pay higher premiums, or pay for your policy upfront – without instalments.
Most employers shouldn't need to see your credit report before they make you a job offer. However, if you've been offered a job at a financial institution (such as a building society or bank), certain employers may need to see your credit report as part of the screening process. You could also be given a credit check if you're applying for a job where you'll be handling large sums of money, or where you'll have a high level of responsibility.
Utility and mobile companies
Gas, water and electricity providers usually charge in arrears – that means you'll pay on a monthly or quarterly basis for what you've used, not a service they'll provide in the future. So when you register with a utilities company, you'll be using a form of credit with them.
It's unusual for a utilities company to refuse to provide a service if you have a bad credit history. However, if you've got a history of being unreliable or making late payments, they may put you on a prepay account instead, like a key meter.
Mobile phone companies operate in a similar way – you pay for what you've already used – so they may want to check your credit report before offering you a contract.
Debt collection agencies
When you first apply to take out a loan, you agree to allow the lender to check your credit report.
If you can't repay a debt and it's passed to a debt collection agency, the debt collectors have a right to search your credit report to get a snapshot of your financial situation and make appropriate decisions on how to best collect the money you owe.
There are a small number of circumstances where a Government agency can access your credit report, such as for the prevention of crime, or collection of taxes, or as part of a legal case. This access might not always show as a search on your report.
Who controls who can see my credit report?
Credit reference agencies collect information about your credit history, and use it to create a credit report. Companies which need to find out more about your financial habits will contact a credit reference agency to get a better idea of your relationship with your finances.
The information in your credit report comes from a range of sources, such as lenders, banks and creditors. It's worth bearing in mind that companies may share different types of information, and they might not share the same information with different credit reference agencies.
Each credit reference agency creates its own credit report, so the information each one holds may be different.
Can my family and friends access my credit report?
Your family and friends can't request access to your credit report – regardless of their relationship to you. It shouldn't be available to the general public and it won't show up as a search engine result, even if you have a unique name.
What kind of information is on my credit report?
Your credit report includes the following, however, the above companies won't always see all of this data:
- Your name (including middle names) and date of birth
- Your electoral register information
- A list of current bank accounts and overdrafts
- A list of credit accounts you hold, as well as ones you've closed in the last six years
- Details about your financial behaviour, such as late or missed payments
- Dates and details of 'hard checks' carried out – 'soft checks' are included, but only you can see these
- Financial associations
- If you've had any County Court Judgments (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or bankruptcies in the last six years
- Details on whether you've ever been a victim of fraud through a Cifas notification
What isn't included on my credit report?
Your credit report doesn't include:
- Your salary
- The amount of savings you have
- Criminal records
- Your medical history
- Political affiliation
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