How do credit agencies get their data about you?

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By Alex Hartley | Last updated | Credit History and Ratings

The credit data about you

Credit Reference Agencies in the UK have a key role to play in the way that consumers interact with financial institutions. Any time that you make an application to borrow money, for example, the information that an agency has compiled about your financial history will be checked by the lender. Credit Reference Agencies generate their own credit scores from this information too. Although lenders don’t use these scores they can still be a good indicator of whether you’re likely to be successful when applying for credit. Given the importance of the information that Credit Reference Agencies hold on all of us where exactly do they source it from?

Data the agencies DO have

When a lender accesses your credit file they won’t see whatever score that Credit Reference Agency has compiled about you. What they will see is a range of different pieces of data that will be used to build up a picture of your credit worthiness. It’s worth noting that the maximum length of time data is likely to stay on your credit file is six years (e.g. for late payments) – most of it (e.g. other searches carried out) will disappear more quickly. This information includes:

Data the agencies DON’T have

Where does this data come from?

It’s important to understand what kind of data is in your credit file, as well as where this has come from. Most of the time it is up to consumers to regularly check their credit history and to ensure that the information provided by the sources that Credit Reference Agencies use is correct. So, if you want to avoid having a credit problem then it’s key to ensure you know what’s in your credit file – and that you check it on a regular basis.

How to Manage Your Credit Rating

This 4 minute video explains in more depth how you can go about actively managing your credit file to ensure it reflects reality - this includes how to remove incorrect data held about you that might adversely affect your ability to get credit in the future:

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