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How to Check Your Credit Rating
If you are thinking about applying for any kind of finance product (such as a loan, credit card or mortgage, for example), then you should keep in mind that the lender to whom you make an application will run a credit check on you before it approves your application. So, it makes sense to check out your own credit score before it does your credit check, so that you can see where you stand.
The fact is that you should check out your credit rating periodically in any case to make sure that everything is okay with your credit score. Sometimes your credit history may hold inaccurate information (that you can put right) and sometimes, your credit rating can give you a heads-up that you have been a victim of ID theft or fraud.
How do you check your credit report?
Checking your credit report is simple. All you have to do is to approach one of the three main credit reference agencies (or more than one if you prefer). The agencies are:
These agencies will all hold data on you that is compiled into a credit report; this is the information that a lender will see if it checks your credit history during the course of an application.
All of these agencies have to give you access to your credit report by law. There are various ways that you can make a credit check here. The easiest way for many people is to arrange for a copy of your report to be sent out in the mail. There will be a minimal charge for this.
Alternatively, you can subscribe to online credit check services with an agency which gives you access to your information via your computer and an internet connection. These subscription programs usually give you rolling access to your credit rating details and may also throw in alerts and notifications (i.e. if there are changes to your credit score data). Generally, there will be a regular cost for this kind of subscription (i.e. monthly).
How do you change inaccurate data on your credit report?
When you take a look at your credit report, you may sometimes find that some of the information that is held on you isn’t accurate. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything sinister; it may simply be a case of human error when inputting information. Or, it could be a sign of ID theft or fraud (i.e. if your credit check shows an application for a loan that you did not make, for example).
If you check your credit rating and find that there is an error, then you can contact the credit score agency and arrange to have the information changed. If you have been a victim of ID theft or fraud then the credit check agency will have specialists in place who can help you sort the situation out.
The key thing to remember with your credit rating is that it is sensible to keep an eye on how your credit score looks, even if you don’t plan on applying for any financial products in the immediate future. Lenders can see records going back a fair few years when they check you out, so accuracy is important here. And, if you have had a ‘blip’ in the past (i.e. if you missed a couple of credit card payments) then you can make sure to make it look better by keeping your nose as clean as possible to help you out with your credit rating and future applications!
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