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Get a better grade on your credit report

a stack of various credit cardsChecking your credit score could be your first step to the top of the class

Ever been rejected for a credit card and wondered why? Turned down for a loan with little or no explanation? There could be a problem with your credit score that you are not even aware of.

Maybe you are just intrigued as to what financial providers see when they check your credit file.

Well there’s one way to find out – read your own credit record.

Why check your credit report?

It can explain why a lender has rejected your application. You may have missed payments, or been billed at an old property and never seen or paid the bill.

There could also be mistakes on there you can rectify. Plus you can add a note to explain anything in your file, for example if you missed a few payments because of being made redundant.

By checking your credit record you can quickly and easily spot if someone is claiming credit in your name, in other words ID fraud – something you need to be aware of as soon as possible.

What’s on your file?

  • Your name, date of birth, address, how long you’ve lived there and your previous addresses. Linked addresses (such as a second home) are also included.
  • Your electoral roll registration.
  • Any other names you have had – if you have got married or divorced for example, or changed your name at some stage.
  • Anybody with whom you share a financial account – for example if you have a joint credit card with your partner.
  • Any County Court Judgements, bankruptcies or possession orders held against your name in the last six years.
  • Previous searches made on you by other financial companies.
  • Every application for credit you have made in the last six years. This includes for credit cards, loans, mortgages, store cards, catalogue accounts, mobile phones, and anything else of value you have applied for on credit.

What does it say about each of your accounts?

The credit report notes when you opened the account and the outstanding balance.

The last 12 months of repayments are then listed showing whether or not you have made them, if they have been missed or underpaid and if so, when. If you have had any of your credit accounts terminated by the lender this information will also be on your record – and will stay there for six years.

What is my credit score?

It’s important to be aware that your credit record and your credit score are not the same thing.

Your credit record or file is what lenders look at when they do a credit check. They then use their own calculations to come up with your credit score. Such calculations tend to differ between providers.

Companies don’t usually share their credit scoring calculations, but there are certain things they all look out for, such as a good payment history, length of time in current employment, and registration on the electoral roll.

How do I check my credit record?

Follow this link to take advantage of the free 30-day trial of the Credit Expert service. This gives you unlimited access to your record and sends you ID fraud alerts via SMS or email if someone tries to get credit in your name, plus freephone advice on improving your credit rating. After the first month’s free trial you will be charged a monthly fee of £6.99 if you wish to continue using the service.