#check your credit rating
How To Check Your Credit Rating
Last Updated: Sunday 17th March, 2013
No-one has the right to credit, but what do you do if you have been refused credit or you just want to know what’s on your credit report .
Before any agreement can be made by a lender they have to establish whether you are a good credit risk or not. A lender will contact credit reference agencies to access your credit worthiness. The main agencies the majority of lenders deal with are Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. These agencies compile credit histories from a variety of different sources including the County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Sheriff Court Decrees (Scotland). the electoral roll and how well previous debts have been paid.
How to obtain a free credit report
Although you don’t have a right to credit you have a right to know which credit reference agency the lender used and to ensure that the information held by that agency is accurate. To obtain this information contact the lender within 28 days and ask which credit reference agency they used. Then contact the agency and ask for a copy of your file.
Having received your credit report. check it for any inaccuracies. It is in the interest of the agency to store correct and accurate information about you.
Correcting errors in your credit report
If you find any wrong information (note, unwanted information does not count as wrong!) write to the agency requesting your record is changed. The agency will change the record if it agrees, although you may need to correspond with the company which originally filed the error.
Sometimes you may find that the company will refuse to amend your file. Should this happen you are entitled to enter a “notice of correction” in which add concise factual explanatory information.
Checking your credit file
It is certainly worth while checking your credit reference file from time to time. Regularly checking your credit report for changes you did not make is one of the best ways to combat identity theft. All three credit reference agencies offer an annual credit report service which ranges in price. In addition to this there may be some authorised changes to your report which may impact on you getting a loan, credit card or even mortgage. Remember forewarned is forearmed.
How to obtain your credit files?
There are two ways to get your files by post and online. The cheapest way is by post which costs Ј2 per agency. Your right to view your file comes from the Consumer Credit Act and the right to charge you a Ј2 fee for this come from the Data Protection Act. Online, will cost around Ј16 for immediate access to your report or around Ј70 a year for a credit and fraud monitoring service.
Write to the credit reference agencies and ask for a copy of your file. You will have to include certain details. Check out this post on how to draft a letter. Alternatively you can just sign up for their free credit report service (see below) and if you wish cancel it after the trial period.
Free Online Credit Report
You can apply online for one off reports or sign up to the various agencies monitoring services using the following links. It is worth while getting a copy of your report form all three agencies as they may hold different types of data
Equifax offer three products which help you monitor your credit score and highlight any fraud activity. Its worth checking out the Credit Watch Gold Ј69.99 which offers a 30 day free trial. If you don’t want to proceed cancel it.
Experian also offers a free no obligation 30 day trail.
Callcredit’s Call Credit allows you to access your credit file for three for three months.
Be careful of companies which advertise credit repair services. They cannot do anything more that you can actually do yourself. There are no magic tricks with credit repair companies except making your cash disappear.
Written by George
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