Understanding the Three Main Credit Reference Agencies

Understanding the Three Main Credit Reference Agencies

There are three main credit reference agencies in the UK—Equifax, Experian, and Callcredit. It is important that you learn about each one. These agencies play an important role in the state of your credit, so you need to know as much about them as possible. Your credit has a big impact on your ability to get a loan and other essential things in life. The more you find out about these agencies, the more prepared you will be to get new lines of credit.

How does a CRA Work?

A credit reference agency receives information from creditors like late payments and non-payment of bills. This information goes on your credit reports. You have a different credit report for each agency. There is other information on your report as well, including your home address and electoral roll details. Your credit score is a result of all this information put together.

Checking Your Credit Report

It is highly recommended that you make a point of checking your credit report at least once per year. You should get a copy of your report from all three of the major credit reference agencies.

You have the following options with each agency:

  • Equifax: You will be able to check your report with this agency with ClearScore, which is completely free. This agency also has a Credit Report and Score service that you can get for £7.95 per month. You can do a 30-day trial to test it out first. This is a good choice for those who need to check their credit reports and scores often.
  • Experian: This credit reference agency also allows you to get a copy of your credit report and score for free. You have to sign up, but it doesn’t cost anything. It is important to keep in mind that you won’t have access to your report. The CreditExpert service provides you with full access to your credit report and score for £14.99 per month. MSE’s Credit Club gives you the same thing but for free.
  • Callcredit: You can use the Noodle service to get a free copy of your credit report as well as your score. TotallyMoney is another free service that allows you to see all of your data with this CRA. The CheckMyFile service gives you this comprehensive Callcredit and Equifax details on your credit for £14.99 per month.

Information that CRAs Collect

You also need to know what information each of the three credit reference agencies in the UK collect on you.

This information includes:

  • Personal details: When you take a look at your credit report, you will see certain personal details like your full name, physical address, date of birth, and all of the addresses you have ever lived at.
  • Financial associations: This information relates to any loans you might have ever taken out. It plays an important part in lenders determining your credit worthiness.
  • Inquiries: When you submit an application for a loan, the “hard inquiries” will show up on your credit report. This is why you should avoid submitting a lot of loan applications in a very short period of time.
  • Other details: Any civil judgments against you or bankruptcies will also appear on your credit report. Instances of fraud may also be visible to lenders who take a look at your report when determining whether or not to give you a loan.

Tips for Checking Your Credit Report

It is absolutely crucial that you are very careful when it comes to checking your credit reports with each agency. You should only use websites and services that are 100% legitimate. There are some shady websites out there that you need to avoid. Use the information above to know where to go when you want to check your reports and scores with each CRA.

Looking for Errors on Your Credit Report

Sometimes credit reporting agencies make mistakes and put incorrect information on people’s credit reports. There is also a chance that there are items on your report that should no longer be there. This is why it is such a good idea to check your report thoroughly on an annual basis. If you ever discover any items that look suspicious, you need to contact the CRA right away.

Final Thoughts

Credit reference agencies are only the middle man when it comes to the overall state of your credit. They take in reports from your creditors and add them to your report, which affects your overall score. You need to keep in mind that nobody has a single credit score, as there are three different agencies. Your credit score is constantly changing in small or big ways due to a number of factors. It is important that you monitor your credit report for these changes.

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