Although it’s not mandatory to perform a credit check in the UK or anywhere else, it’s a good idea to do so. Remember, a credit check reveals your credit score and credit history information that gives you indications of all the issues that are bound to affect your ability to access personal loans, payday loans, short term loans, mortgages, car loans etc.
The UK has 3 main credit reference agencies namely CallCredit, Equifax, and Experian. There are many other referencing agencies. It is, however, important to work with these three agencies because they are the most reputable. When you want to run a credit check, you should also consider the fact that they don’t all give the same score. It’s advisable to choose the agency that matches your lending needs perfectly i.e. an agency used by your preferred lender.
Requesting for a credit report
You can request for a copy of your credit report from any of the three main agencies in the UK. You can request online or offline (by post). UK citizens have the right to obtain their full credit report according to the Consumer Credit Act. The three main agencies are obligated to give UK citizens one free report a year. Citizens interested in getting their report more than once among other credit referencing services are required to pay a fee dictated by the credit reporting agency in question. Below is the information of the three main credit reference agencies in the UK to help you request for your credit report by post or online;
Website: http://www.callcredit.co.uk/, Phone: 0870 060 1414, Consumer Services Team, PO Box 491, Leeds, LS3 1WZ.
Website: https://www.equifax.co.uk/, Phone: 0844 335 0550, Equifax Credit File Advice Centre, PO Box 1140, Bradford, BD1 5US.
Website: http://www.experian.co.uk/, Phone: 0800 013 88 88, Customer Support Centre, PO Box 9000, Nottingham, NG80 7WF.
When running a credit check online, you will need to enter your details to run a credit check. Agencies usually require you to register with your personal information i.e. your names, date of birth, email address and phone number. You are also supposed to review and accept the terms and conditions of the credit reference agency in question, confirm the information you have filled in and then submit your request. You may also be required to provide other information i.e. you payment information if you want to pay for other credit reference services. Once you submit, you should be able to get your credit report immediately.
In case you encounter a problem running a credit check, you can always contact the agency. If your report has problems, you should report and request for amendments. It’s important to note that credit reference agencies get information from banks/lenders you have dealt with in the past, so any errors submitted by those institutions will reflect in your credit report.
Credit report errors can range from something as small as a wrong address to fraudulent activities and defaulted payments you actually made. You can, however, report such problems and have them rectified so that your credit report shows the accurate credit score/information. Mistakes such as a default payment that you actually made affect your credit score negatively so it’s important to report any problems you find on your credit file.
You can write to the credit reference agency or use the online mechanism the agency has for reporting errors. You should make sure you give a detailed explanation as well as evidence if you have any to make sure the error or errors are corrected.
Credit report agency responses
Credit reference agencies have 28 days to act on concerns raised on credit reports. During this period, such concerns/errors are marked as ”disputed”. This is usually the case so that lenders who come across your file can be alerted not to rely on the specific piece of information that is disputed. In case the agency fails to amend your records, you have a right to send them a notice of correction which should be added to your credit file. The notice should not exceed 200 words. It should also explain why the piece of information in question is wrong including mitigating circumstances i.e. a good reason why you missed a loan payment such as a sudden bereavement.