From taking out a loan or a mortgage to getting a mobile phone contract or monthly car insurance, your credit score can impact on almost every area of your life.
Not only will your credit record determine whether you are permitted to take out a loan, mortgage or credit card, it will also have an impact on the quality of the products you’re offered.
The very best rates are only available to those with excellent credit ratings who have a good history of paying their bills on time.
So how do you go about checking your credit record?
Contrary to popular perception, you don’t have to pay a hefty fee to get access to your record. Under the Consumer Credit Act, you have the right to see your statutory credit file for just 2 – and you can check your credit report online with a site such as Credit Expert.
In this report, you’ll find your personal details as well as information on your financial links with others, the credit accounts you have and whether you are on the electoral role. There will also be a record of any payments you have missed over the past few years.
But what if you’re keen to get a more detailed report on your circumstances?
There is a way to get a full credit report without paying for the privilege from most of the major credit agencies. By signing up for a free 30-day trial of a credit monitoring service, you can get access to your credit record without adding an official ‘credit search’ to your file.
Then, if you wish, you can cancel your subscription. It’s a good idea to check your credit report every 18 months or so regardless of whether you’re taking out a financial product, just to make sure that you haven’t been affected by identity theft.
When you have your credit record on-screen, you should first check to see that all the information is correct. If your name has been fraudulently used or if there are out-of-date financial links on your account then make sure you inform the credit reference agencies immediately.
You can also immediately boost your credit score by making sure that your name is on the electoral role and that you make any regular payments promptly and in full.