If you’re applying for a loan, lenders will want to know about your credit history. This will help them decide if you’re a reliable borrower and what terms to offer you. In order to increase your chances of being accepted for a loan and improve your credit score, it’s a good idea to check your credit history at least once a year. You can access a free copy of your report from any of the three main credit agencies in the UK, these are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
A statutory report will give you basic information, but you can also access a more detailed report which includes your credit score. Reviewing each section of your credit report is key to understanding what your credit history means. Here’s a step-by-step guide for checking your credit history for anything that could affect your chances of getting a loan.
• Check your name and address
Lenders use your credit file to verify that people aren’t fraudulently using your identity. If your name or address contains a spelling mistake, this could affect your credit score. If you’ve recently moved house or don’t know which address is on your credit report, you should check and make sure it’s up to date.
• Am I on the electoral register?
Being on the electoral register significantly improves your credit score as it provides proof of your address. If you’re not registered to vote, you could find it more difficult to get a loan. It only takes a few minutes to visit the electoral registration website and register.
• Check your credit arrangements
Your credit report holds information about your past and present credit agreements from the last six years. This includes things like mobile phone contracts, credit cards, loans and mortgages. Check that each item has been authorised by you and your payments are up to date.
• Close any unused accounts
Closing any accounts that you’re not using and removing any associated credit or retail cards from your file can improve your credit score.
• Check your financial associates are correct
A financial associate is anyone with whom you’ve held a joint financial agreement, such as a bank account or joint mortgage. If you’re a guarantor for someone else’s loan, their credit rating or score will also affect yours as you’re promising to pay their debt if they’re unable to. Make sure you regularly check your credit report to ensure all your financial associates are correct as their financial circumstances can affect your credit score.
• What should I do if I notice a mistake on my credit report?
If you’ve noticed any information on your credit report is wrong you should notify the lender or raise a dispute. It’s worth checking your credit report with all three agencies to make sure they all have up to date information. Contact details can be found on their websites.
If you’re thinking of getting a loan then checking your credit history will improve your chances of getting approved and the APR you’re offered. It’s well worth checking your credit report to ensure your information is correct and up to date.
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