Credit Reports

an introduction to credit reports

It is very likely that at some point in time you will need to request credit from a lender. When credit is applied for the lender will determine whether to lend money based on a series of personal credit ratings that are collated into a credit report. One of the most well known companies that collate an individuals credit score is Experian, who also offer an initial free online credit report for new users.

Contrary to popular belief there is no all encompassing "credit rating" that each lender would draw upon to make a determination. Rather, there are elements within an overall scoring process that lenders will evaluate in order to score against their specific criteria. Therefore, if you have been refused credit from one lender you may not necessarily be refused at another lender as they may weight certain credit scoring criteria slightly differently.

As part of this credit rating consumers often wonder why they have been refused credit and should always keep up to date with their credit ratings and history as the information plays a major role in deciding on the acceptance of loans, mortgages, mobile phone contracts, credit etc.

Keeping up to date with credit history is particularly relevant in the economic climate of today with the current state of borrowing and the increasing number of identity fraud cases appearing

Checking a credit report would be particularly useful for –

Individuals who are intending to apply for financial products
Anyone who maybe concerned about an aspect of his or her credit history
An individual who has been refused credit and would like to establish why
Individuals who are concerned about fraud in particular identity theft.


What is in a credit report?

There are often some misconceptions with regards to what information is contained within a credit report and what is not.

Simply put, the data that will be in your credit report can be broken down into three broad categories:

1. Personal contact information
2. Personal details
3. Financial history

For more details see our section: What is in a credit report?

What is not in a credit report?

You maybe interested to learn that the following are not listed in your credit report -

Personal savings are not shown
Child support payments are not listed in the credit report
Standard student loans are not detailed
Credit agreement payments that were defaulted over six years ago
No family details are listed as long no credit has been applied for jointly
A criminal record will not be shown nor will any fines accrued
Your medical record will not be disclosed           

Based on the fact that you can obtain your credit report online and free of charge, it makes sense to check your report periodically to see how you are being scored. This could help you to determine whether you need to take affirmative action in some areas or whether your details have (or are) being used fraudulently as part of an identity theft.


For more detailed information on credit reports see our additional articles on the subject -

What is in a credit report?

What is credit scoring?

Credit report pitfalls

How to improve a credit rating

Understanding your credit scoring


Any information offered here is general and should be considered as purely informational in nature. Information here should not be construed as advice and it is offered without legal responsibility or liability. It must be emphasised that you should consult a professionally qualified individual or company (such as an accountant, financial adviser or solicitor for example) should you need advice on your financial situation, as they will be able to tailor their advice to your situation accordingly.