How to check your credit report

Chris Torney / 20 April 2015 ( 01 November 2016 )

Your credit report is a record of your credit history and is used by companies to help them decide whether to loan you money or give you credit. Chris Torney explains why it is sensible to check your credit report and how to go about it.

If you are about to apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage – or even a new mobile phone contract – it is worth checking your credit report in advance.

You can check your credit report now with our free, no obligation Experian trial*

What is a credit report?

Your credit report shows details of current and recent borrowing, such as the size of any loans and whether you have been making payments on time or not.

The report also includes details of current and recent addresses, so that potential lenders can check you are who you claim to be.

Reports are compiled and held by the UK’s three credit-reference agencies.

Find out more about what information is recorded in a credit report

Why should you check your report?

If a lender finds any problems with your credit report – for example, if you have been late with some repayments, or your address on your loan application doesn’t match that on your report – there is an increased chance they will reject you as a customer.

Checking your report gives you the chance to put matters right or correct any mistakes before approaching lenders.

Keeping regular tabs on your report – which is also known as a credit record, credit history or credit file – also helps you check no one is taking loans out in your name, a crime known as identity fraud.

What can I do if I am a victim of identity theft?

How to check your credit report

 To check your report you need to get in touch with the credit reference agencies Experian*, Callcredit and Equifax.

You have a legal right to request a copy of your report – known as the statutory report – to be posted to you or made available online for a charge of £2.

There is a chance that your information varies between the three agencies, so it is worth contacting each one.

The agencies also provide more comprehensive assistance, such as monitoring to help ensure you do not fall victim to identity fraud and showing you credit products you are more likely to be accepted for based on the information in your credit report.

Expect to pay a monthly fee of around £15 for this kind of service.

Find out how to improve your credit report

How to correct mistakes on your credit report

If you find an error on your report, such as a late payment that you actually made on time, ask the lender who has recorded the wrong information to put the matter right.

What are the top five mistakes that damage your credit report?

If the lender refuses or disputes your view, you can ask the credit agency to contact the lender on your behalf to dispute the information. The credit reference agency can only make changes with the permission of the company that recorded it.

You can also put a note on your report stating that any late or missed payments were due to exceptional circumstances or events beyond your control.

If your address is out of date, make sure you have registered on the electoral roll at your current address.

What is on your credit report? Find out with Experian's free 30-day trial*.

Experian Credit Expert Get a free 30-day trial with Experian Credit Expert with this special offer.

*A monthly fee of £14.99 applies after your 30-day trial – you can cancel at any time during your trial with no charge. New customers only.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.