When it comes to accessing the crucial finance that you need to make important purchases for your future, your credit report is very important. It’s a good idea to make sure that you check the details of your credit report regularly to ensure that the details held within are all correct and up-to-date. Remember to get copies of each of the files that are held for you by all three credit reference agencies, including Experian, Equifax, and CallCredit, as it’s unlikely that each of these providers will be storing the same information, and you need to know exactly what is in each file.

The information that every credit reference agency holds about you, and your spending habits will help to give you an indication of some of the issues that might be able to impact your ability to get your hands on credit in the future, such as a personal loan or mortgage, for instance. Understanding your credit history, and taking steps to improve your score if it is suffering is a good way to make sure that you’re never left in a difficult position if you need to access finance from a bank, union, or building society.

How to Find your Credit Report

Getting hold of your credit report so you can learn more about your financial history and what is written about you in your files is easier than you might think. All you need to do to get started is request a copy of your credit file from any of the various agencies that are available online, or you can even contact the three separate credit agencies we mentioned above by telephone or post.

Because of the “Consumer Credit Act”, any individual has the right to obtain their full statutory credit report at a cost of only £2 per the agency you request it from. If you apply to get a copy of your credit report online, it’s worth noting that you’re going to need to have some specific information available to you to get through the screening processes. This will include a list of all the addresses that you have lived at over the past six years, and any details of people that you might have financial relationships with, such as a partner with whom you hold a joint mortgage or credit card.

Most of the time, you’ll be able to access your online credit report shortly after your application has gone through the system.

Accessing your Credit Report for Free

Besides the £2 statutory report, Experian, Equifax, and CallCredit offer their consumers free online credit reports, but these are only provided as part of a temporary offer designed to help welcome people into their paid services. If you want to access your credit report for free, then all you need to do is use these services and make sure that you cancel your membership with the agency that you choose before the trial period ends.

Usually, you will be able to access information for a period of thirty days before the end of your trial period. If you forget to cancel your subscription, you’ll be charged a monthly fee for access to your files.

Correcting Credit Mistakes

One of the most important reasons to regularly check your credit report, is the fact that they can be prone to mistakes. If you spot any issues on your credit files, it’s important to have this concern rectified, otherwise your ability to obtain credit later by be harmed. Mistakes may range from simple errors that relay your address differently to information that is incorrectly supplied by your bank which might stop another company from lending money to you. You might even notice fraudulent behaviour, such as someone attempting to make an application for credit in your name.

If you spot a mistake, it’s important to contact the credit reference agency you are using and ask for that mistake to be corrected as quickly as possible. Ensure that you include an explanation about why the note is wrong, and also draw attention to any evidence you might have.

The credit agency you contact should have 28 days to act and make changes to the relevant detail within your credit report. During this time the detail will be marked as disputed to let any lender that is searching through your file know that they can’t necessarily rely on that piece of information when determining whether to lend to you.

Keep in mind that if you need to add a notice of correction into your credit report, you should use that note to explain why you believe a particular part of the information provided is incorrect, and ensure that you draw attention to mitigating circumstances too, such as a sudden bereavement that might have prompted you to miss a loan or credit card repayment.