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Your score and your report are compiled by an agency who collect information about your current and previous financial life. On the back of the information that they gather they create reports of varying detail and accuracy, but they also deduce a score from the detail of the report. This score denotes your creditworthiness.
What’s the difference between my Credit Score and my Credit Report?
Be careful, some providers will only provide you with either the score or the report at their standard price and then they will ratchet up fees for subsequent information requests.
Depending on why you are getting your credit check done you may be looking for a report, a score or both. A Credit Score is similar to a ranking that will indicate how likely you are to be accepted for a credit application. However, different lenders will treat scores in different ways so nothing is ever certain.
A report provides more detail about your credit history and your personal position, including your history of mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, mobile phone contracts, and even some utilities. However, detail does vary depending on the agency producing the report.
Why get a credit check done?
When you apply for credit of any sort you will very likely have a credit check done. If you are preparing to apply for credit then a credit check in advance can help you through that process. If you are rejected credit it will be held against you so you should find out whether you are likely to be accepted before you apply. Don’t let your credit score hold you back.
How do I raise my credit score?
If you are concerned about your credit score it could be useful to get a credit check done and try to raise your score in line with the results in the report.
Here are a list of things that you can do to try and raise your credit rating.
1. Register to vote in your local electoral roll (give this time to be processed as most are updated every 3 months)
2. Try to take out a credit card with a bank that knows you best. If you use the card and make repayments often trust in your creditworthiness will rise. Make sure you pay what you owe on time though, otherwise you may reduce your score.
3. Don’t make too many credit applications in a short time period
4. Make timely repayments
5. Don’t move house too often
6. Close joint accounts that are held with bad credit records in them (this could be a joint university account)
Can I protect myself against identity fraud?
Yes, you can. It’s wise to build up some sort of protection against ID theft as it is a rapidly growing criminal activity in the UK. Getting a monthly subscription to a credit rating agency with unlimited access is a great way to monitor this.
Some providers even offer you identity theft expenses insurance with your report.
Which product provider is best?
As with all things financial your credit check is personal to you. This goes for selecting which provider to use as well. Each agency will have different levels of accuracy and information. You need to discern whether you want a one-off report or whether you want to monitor your report consistently.
You should also bear in mind that some providers access their data through agencies or bureaus and that these agencies may have better data.
Constant monitoring can keep you abreast of any changes to your credit score – and some of the first signs of identity theft. It will also allow you to make decisions about the best time to apply for credit or consider taking out a loan or a mortgage.
What has an affect on my score?
Your score can be influenced by anything from how long you have lived in a specific location, to whether you have registered with your local electoral roll or how many children you have. However, there are more obvious factors such as salary, credit history and number of credit accounts.
How lenders calculate your score?
Lenders calculate a credit score using information from several sources - these can include:
Your credit report -The information on your past credit history as well as information that confirms your identity.
Credit application - The lender will ask for further information on your credit application, for instance, why you need to borrow the money, your job and your income.
Past information - If you’re an existing customer, they may use the information they already know about you.
Credit scores do not take account of gender, religion, race or ethnic origin.
Who produces these reports and where does the data come from?
Whilst you may go through a third party provider the data in these reports is all from three credit rating agencies in the UK.
These are Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. They will each produce varying levels of detail about your credit history. Just read about each provider in the comparison table and go from there.
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SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PAGE
The main table shows a range of products from the market, some of which lovemoney.com commission for when you take them out. The table is ranked by the product with the most features.
Provider specific regulatory wording:
Experian Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Motorfile Ltd. Motorfile Ltd, Landmark House, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG80 1ZZ is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.