Checking your Credit File

Knowledge of the contents of your credit file is always a good idea, particularly when applying for a mortgage. Mortgage lenders run a credit search as part of the application process and in doing so, they’re able to review the contents of your credit file. Your credit file, often called a credit report, shows an array of personal and financial information forming your credit history.

Information recorded on a credit file relates to address history, credit commitments, payment history, electoral roll information, financial associations, credit search activity, court information, debt arrangements, insolvency records, aliases and information from the credit industry fraud avoidance system (CIFAS).

Your credit file has a significant impact on the availability of mortgage lenders. Providing you have no adverse credit and a clear credit footprint, the majority of lenders would be available. If you’ve had previous adverse credit such as missed payments or defaults on credit commitments, County Court Judgements (CCJ) or Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVA), the availability of lenders begins to decrease, depending on the severity. If you are in this position, there are often still options with specific lenders specialising in adverse credit. However, it is important to access a copy of your credit file before submitting a mortgage application. Every mortgage lender has different criteria and an appropriate lender should be chosen based on the information recorded on the credit file to avoid a declined mortgage application.

Mortgage lenders review the content of your credit file at both mortgage in principle and full application stage. Many lenders also use their own internal scoring system which takes into account several factors in addition to the information shown on the credit file. While a credit score from an independent third party can give you an indicative idea of your credit history, mortgage lenders are not concerned with this. The content of your credit file is too broad to be summarised into a simple score.

A copy of your credit file can be downloaded from a credit reference agency. Under the terms of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, later updated by the Consumer Credit Act 2006, individuals have a right to access their credit file. Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and Crediva are the four credit reference agencies in the UK from which your credit file can be obtained. Data held by each agency can vary with not all credit commitments being reported to every agency. Mortgage lenders use data from one or more than one of the listed credit reference agencies. Checkmyfile is a multi-agency credit report, showing information from all four agencies. Checkmyfile is therefore the popular choice when it comes to obtaining a copy of your credit file. Credit reference agencies, as well as Checkmyfile, typically allow a copy of your credit file to be downloaded free of charge as  part of a free trial period. A monthly fee is then charged for continued access. If you do not want to pay for continued access, remember to cancel any subscription.

If you’ve never downloaded a copy of your credit file, it might be something to consider. A copy of your credit file will often be requested by a broker in order to accurately assess your credit commitments, credit history and provide the most informed advice. If you’re looking to download a copy of your credit file, have a question about the content of it or you have any other mortgage or life insurance query, we’re here to help with free, professional advice.

A copy of your credit file can be download for free from Checkmyfile via the following link: