Your credit file

Before lending you money, banks, loan companies and shops want to be confident that you can pay the money back.

To help them make these decisions, they look at the information held by companies called credit reference agencies.

These agencies hold lots of information about most adults in the UK. About which financial products you have now, ones you’ve had in the past and how well you managed the repayments on those products.

Credit reference agencies hold lots of information, including:

  • your name and address.
  • whether you are on the electoral roll at your current address.
  • how much you currently owe lenders.
  • details of any financial products in your name.
  • any missed or late payments on existing or past credit card or loan accounts.
  • any County Court Judgments (CCJs) made against you.
Your credit report provides these facts about you, but it doesn’t advise lenders whether they should lend money to you or not. Lenders will usually have their own ‘credit scoring system’ to make decisions about lending money, which uses information from your credit report.

    How to check your credit report

    You can request a copy of your credit report from any of the agencies online or by post.

    Online - The credit reference agencies often have free online reports for new customers – this can be a great way to view your information quickly but check the terms and conditions when you sign up as often you will be charged after an introductory period.

    You'll need details of previous addresses and any name changes (see information in 'by post').

    By post - Your letter should include:

    • Your full name;
    • Any other names you have used or been known by in the last six years e.g. your maiden name;
    • Your full address including postcode;
    • Any other addresses you have lived at in the last six years;
    • Your date of birth and
    • A cheque or postal order for £2 made payable to the credit reference agency.

    In the UK there are 3 main credit reference agencies

    Experian, Call Credit & Equifax.

    Customer Support Centre
    PO Box 8000
    NG80 7WF
    0344 481 0800

    Consumer Services Team
    PO Box 491
    LS3 1WZ
    0870 060 1414

    Equifax Credit File Advice Centre
    PO Box 1140
    BD1 5US
    0844 335 0550