Experian Credit Report Explained

Why Get Access to your UK Experian Credit Report?

In this article we will explain what your Experian Credit Report contains and why it is important to check it. Gaining access to your Experian credit report is a hugely valuable step toward improving your access to credit at favourable interest rates, and your credit score, calculated by each lender when you apply.

In the UK, when a consumer applies for credit they will provide relevant information on the application such as salary details, employment details, house owner etc. The lender will then supplement this with information from a credit reference agency, to then decide whether to extend the credit to the applicant.

In the UK, Experian is the largest credit reference agency (CRA), which means more lenders request their credit reports that any other bureau. This is important, as chances are more likely that the organisation you are applying to for credit is using Experian. If your credit report is accurate and up to date then your credit score will accurately reflect your true credit worthiness. If it isn't however, you will have less chance of being approved. Once you have access to your Experian Credit Report, we also look at Top 10 Tips to Improve your Experian Credit Report.

Which Types of Experian Credit Reports are Available - Online vs Post?

There is a monthly Experian Credit Report (Credit Expert) membership service, with online access. This is £7.99 per month, and each time you check your Experian Credit Score it is £5.95. Alternatively there is a £2 Experian Statutory Credit Report - these can be ordered by post, but now you can access these on-line, which is much quicker. Experian has a link to buy statutory credit reports. If you order your £2 Experian Statutory Credit Report, by post it will be posted within 7 working days. For on-line access to your £2 Statutory Credit Report, a passkey will be posted to you within 5 working days. The statutory credit report is a one time view of your credit report. These are available from all the credit reference agencies. Click here to view a sample Experian Credit Report.

What is Free with your Experian Credit Report?

There is no such thing as Free Lunch! With the monthly online instant access Experian Credit Report Service (Credit Expert), basically the first month is free, after that time, there is a monthly fee (£7.99), and one off charges everytime you want to see your Experian Credit Score. With the monthly membership you can view your Experian Credit Report instantly online and as many times as you want. Your Credit Report can change regularly and there is benefit in regular access, particularly when making finance/credit applications.

Understanding the Content of Your Experian Credit Report?

Below is a quick run through of the key sections of an Experian Credit report.

Profile Information:

This includes information such as your address, when setting up your credit agency account, with Experian's Credit Expert, Equifax or Call Credit. This information is used to produce your report. This section also shows useful addresses for lenders, relevant to you.

This section is important because if you spot anything that is not correct on your credit report, you can contact the lenders direct with the details shown in this section.

Account Information:

This part of the credit report includes details of your credit arrangements with the relevant financial lenders, for example mobile phone accounts, current accounts, mortgages and credit cards. It also shows for each lender, the balance of any outstanding credit. This section also shows if there have been any late payments, on your credit, and if a credit agreement has ended as you have not responded to requests to credit your account satisfactorily. 

This section is importantas it shows potential lenders, if you are paying your other credit commitments on time? This contributes to a risk assesment, but all lenders want punctual payment of any credit.

Electoral Roll Information:

This shows the dates that your name was registered on the electoral roll, and the address associated with your name, when you registered. 

This section is importantas, the address is the first section that a lender looks at from the address on your application. Unexplanable differences can indicate, Identity Fraud, and lead to your application being rejected before it has even started. To get on your local electoral roll, consult, www.aboutmyvote.co.uk, for your local council details. Please note that when you move house, contact your local council straight away to get registered at your new address.

Aliases (other names you may be known as):

Aliases are included when lenders tell the credit agency, other names you have been known by, or when you tell the credit agency this information.

This section is important because as in the electoral roll information, the lender wants to know precisely who they are lending to, they want to avoid, lending credit, to someone who may have a poor credit score, under a different alias.

Financial Associations:

This section shows the details of anyone you are financially connected to. Financial connections are created when you participate in joint applications, such as for a joint current account or a mortgage.. This is common with spouses for example.

This section is important because, when you make an application lenders may take into your consideration, the financial situation (credit score/ credit report details) or anyone financially associated with you. Please be aware if your partner has a poor credit rating or score, and is associated with you financially, this could negatively impact credit decisions made on your applications. It is worth you and your partner checking their credit reports.

Public Record Information:

This section of your credit report contains information on any IVA's (individual voluntary arrangements), county court judgements (CCJ's) and bankruptcies.

This is information because all of the above impacts your credit rating, and the decision of the lender to grant you finance.

Repossession Details:

This section will show if you are showing on the council of mortgage lenders (CML) information in reference to having given up your home or it being repossessed. CML information can be noted on up to three addresses.

This is important because it indicates in conjunction with other sections of your report, including account information and public record information, how much of a risk you could be in the future, based on your credit history.

Prior Searches on your Credit File:

This shows the organisations that have viewed some or all of the information in your credit report, within the past 12 months. Most of the searches will be in relation to finance applications you have made, and should have been performed with your consent. This can also include checks by lenders you already have credit with. 

Quotations, unrecorded enquiries, credit report applications and identity verification checks are shown to you but are not seen by lenders checking your credit report.

This is importantas it allows you to understand the companies which are looking at your credit file through your credit report. If this section shows a search by a company with a financial product, you did not apply for, this could indicate identity fraud. Applying for many credit products in a short space of time which leads to multiple searches of your credit report, will often lead to lenders, rejecting applications due to the risk of identity theft. You can ask for quotation searches with many lenders when applying for a finance product, which will not show up to lenders who review your credit report.

Financial Associate Searches:

These searches show when someone you are financially associated with made an application for credit, and the lender, reviewed  your credit report information. Other lenders cannot see this information it is just for you.

This is important for the reasons described in the financial associations section.

Linked Addresses:

Linked addresses are included in your credit report, when you tell a current lender, that you have moved address, or when a lender receives an application including multiple addresses.

This is usefulto show which of your current lenders have your new address if you have moved.

CIFAS

CIFAS, is the UK Fraud Prevention Service, with 265 members, constituting key lenders in the UK. CIFAS, key aim is to protect innocent members of the public from prejudice if they have been the victim of identity fraud. This can display information if for example a lender which is a member of CIFAS, puts an entry of your credit file, on your behalf.

This is importantif you have been the victim of identity fraud, but where not aware of it. For more information there will be details in this section, of the CIFAS member that applied this to your credit file.

GAIN

GAIN stands for Gone Away Information Network, which is an organisation. This credit report section shows that a person has outstanding credit and has changed address without informing the lender, they have borrowed the finance from. This information is updated by the organisations who are members of GAIN. GAIN information is automatically removed from your credit report six years from the original date of repossession.

Sign up here for your Experian Credit Report and get cracking!

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