What can a credit check offer you as a consumer?


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The Independent Online

If you ever have the need to borrow money, take out a mortgage, credit or store card, it is important to understand where you stand with regards to how likely you are to get credit. As well as knowing your credit score, it can also be helpful to look at your full credit report, especially if you currently have outstanding debts.

Running a credit check is easy and the results can give you a great insight into your financial position through the eyes of potential lenders. Experian CreditExpert the UKs number 1 credit reference agency [1] , offers a free 30 day trial [2] . During the trial, you will have full access to your credit score and in-depth credit report.

So what exactly will your credit check show you?

1. Personal details

Current name and any previous names, proving that your are looking at the correct report.

2. Your current and previous addresses

If you have taken credit out whilst living at previous addresses, they will show on your credit report. This section is also useful to see if any addresses where you haven’t resided are linked to your name, this could be a sign of identity theft and it should be reported as soon as possible.

3. Details of your employer

This does not have any bearing on your credit rating. Lenders may have used these details in the past to help identify you and to prove that you were receiving an income when you applied for credit with them.
4. Open and closed accounts

Open accounts, including bank accounts, and accounts that were closed less than 7 years’ ago, will show on your credit report. Negative activity on any closed accounts will be shown and will have an impact on your credit rating.

5. Details of current debts

The report will list your loans, mortgages, credit and store card accounts; details of credit limits and the amounts currently owed. There will also be a list of payments made on each account and details of whether payment is up to date or pending. You will also be able to see when, if ever, late payments have been made. Your conduct when it comes to making payments against money owed will affect your credit score and your likelihood of obtaining future credit.

6. A list of recent applications for credit

Every time you apply for a loan, credit card, mortgage, overdraft etc… the lender will want to see your credit report. This will be used as a basis for accepting or rejecting your application. The more searches you have listed on your account over a short period of time, the lower your credit score. It will be assumed that you are applying for credit from multiple lenders due to being in financial difficulty.

Running a credit check on yourself can give you a great insight into your overall financial position through the eyes of current and potential lenders. It is always advised to be aware of your credit score and the details on your full credit report so that your can work on improving your overall position, or so that you are aware should someone try to compromise your credit score through listing false details against your name.

[1] UK's No.1 Source: Experian CreditExpert is the UK's market leader by share of unique users. Comscore, Sept 2013

[2] Experian CreditExpert offers a free 30 day trial then followed by a £14.99 monthly fee