Introduction to Credit Check Process

By: James Miller

A credit check is an type of search performed by a would-be lender to evaluate your suitability for lending. Loan providers will study your credit file to get a sense of your present and past financial obligations. Loan providers can then attach to you a a credit rating to see if the way that you handle your money matters fulfils their requirements for credit.

A credit record is basically an account of any type of credit you have been given for the last six years. It indicates how much money you have accessed and if you have failed to make any obligations etc. A credit record provides a way for would-be loan companies to see your financial past so that they will be able to decide whether to let you borrow from them. The facts and figures on your record is complied by credit reference agencies such as Experian and Equifax. They take information from public reports (e.g. information from the electoral roll, county court judgments etc) and from lenders and also other financial institutions: e.g. credit accounts, credit applications.

A credit score is a method that prospective loan companies use for appraising the credit worthiness of a borrower. Loan providers will research the prospective client's credit report, the data within their credit application and the specific loan required Loan providers will then apply a mathematical scoring formula to assess the level of 'risk connected to lending to the potential borrower.

A credit reference agency holds details of your personal credit information, such as credit cards, loans, etc including details of any defaults in payments, county court judgments (CCJs) etc.

Details of defaults and CCJs are kept on your file for six years and can affect you getting further credit.

These agencies - the major companies being Experian, Equifax and Callcredit plc - provide this information so that a lender can decide whether or not they will lend you money.

When applying for credit, you will be asked by the lender for your consent to check your credit file. This allows them to see a number of things - such as you are who you say you are; confirmation of where you live (your file should show you listed on the electoral roll); how much your current commitments are; how reliable you are at making payments on time etc.

Having looked at this information, the lender will then make a decision as to whether they will lend you money. If you are refused credit, it is not because you are on a 'blacklist', it will be down to you not meeting the lender's criteria.

The criteria - which varies from lender to lender - is based on your financial profile being 'Credit scored' and apart from your credit history, a lender will take in to account your occupation, your age, whether you are a homeowner etc.

If you are considering getting credit, it is worth contacting one of the credit reference agencies to see a copy of your report. You can then check that all the information on it is correct such as you being on the electoral roll, for example. The cost to see your file will be upwards of ?2.

Contact Experian, Equifax or Callcredit plc for more information.

Experian is one of the important UK credit reference agencies. Loan providers will turn to credit referencing agencies to check the appropriateness of a potential borrower as determined by their credit history. This is called a credit report. As with every consumer, you could request a duplicate of your credit report from Experian in order to check that all the data on it is correct and that your financial details have not been used illegally.

Equifax is one of the important credit referencing agencies in the UK. Equifax pulls together all your financial information from a number of sources to create a file that presents your personal financial history - i.e. your credit report. In the event you fill out an application for any sort of credit, loan companies will check out your credit file to understand your financial record. You can request a duplicate of your credit file when ever you like in order to check that everything is in order. The Equifax online site has plenty of practical suggestions on how to make credit choices and protecting yourself from scams.

Credit Matters
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