Five simple ways your credit report can help you.
By Darren Beach from Experian Experts blog
The information held on your credit report summarises your credit history, and plays a major role in the decisions lenders make when you apply for all kinds of credit: whether it’s a mortgage, a credit card, car finance loans or mobile phone contracts.
Understanding your credit report, what’s on it, and what you can do to improve it, can help you put yourself in a stronger position when it comes to applying for the credit you want, or need.
And making little changes to improve your credit report can make a big difference; not only to getting credit, but also to the interest rates you could be charged.
Check it for accuracy and detail
It’s in your interests to ensure that the data and information held on your Experian Credit Report is accurate, up-to-date, and reflects your current circumstances. Even simple discrepancies on your credit report, such as different ways of listing your name and address, can make a difference.
If you do find anything that isn’t accurate, Experian will query this with the lender if you get in touch to make them aware. Your credit report is of course only one part of your application – lenders also use the information provided on your application form, and information that they already hold on you (for example, if you’re applying through your bank).
Stay on the right side of credit
Your credit report will show you if you’ve missed some payments on cards or loans you have. Lenders look for proof that you’re a reliable and responsible borrower, and given that late or missed repayments stay on your credit report for at least six years, it’s not hard to see how important it is to stay on the right side of repayments.
So stay within the agreed credit limits, and always try to make your repayments on time – though if you accidentally do miss one, you can explain it by adding a “notice of correction”, which is a statement of up to 200 words, to your credit report.
Keep an eye on your credit score
The Experian Credit Score is a guide that will help you understand how your credit history is likely to be seen by lenders. It can show you the way that you’ve managed credit in the past can affect future credit applications, and for you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you next apply for credit. Repaying your debts should mean a higher score – and potentially better deals in the future.
Things to look out for
It’s worth checking out which financial links to other people are on your credit report, and ask for any outdated links to be broken – for example an ex-partner you shared accounts with, or even your son whose loan you guaranteed. If you don’t do this you could find that any credit applications you make in the future may be affected by this third party’s financial situation. Watch out too for unfamiliar or suspicious entries in your credit report that could indicate identity fraud.
Help is available
To simply review the information held on your credit report, to ensure everything is accurate and up to date, you can apply online for a Statutory Report which costs just £2. If there is any information which you think may be inaccurate, you can contact Experian’s customer service team.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, talk to your lenders – you may be able to arrange a repayment schedule. If you’re seriously worried, you can get free advice from bodies such as Citizens Advice Bureau or debt solutions provider PayPlan. .