How to Check Your Credit History

Knowing how to check your credit history – and actually doing so – is arguably the best way to keep informed about your credit situation and thus any potential problems. An excellent starting point, it can allow you to make better informed choices on the way you choose to deal with the latter as well as generally informing you how you’re doing.

What affects your credit history?

How good your credit score – and record – is is dictated by how well you’ve done keeping up with your payments and repayments as well as staying within your credit limit. Lenders find out this information by referring to their own records if you are already a customer, the information given in your application and your overall credit history as held by various credit agencies. The latter generally includes the credit score that has been calculated for you, which is indicative of how well you have been able to keep in line with your repayments and credit limit (almost always the higher the better).

You should always be truthful in your applications for credit so that the information kept on your credit record is correct and up to date. The best way to maintain a good score, as well as to increase your existing one, is to make sure that you don’t exceed credit limits, make late – or even completely miss – payments and let your lenders know of any changes in your circumstances should they occur.

So how can you check your credit history?

The quickest, easiest way to check your credit rating is via one of the online services offered by big credit reference agencies such as Equifax and Experian. Being able to check your credit record is a legal right as detailed in the Consumer Credit Act, and is incredibly easy to do if you follow the online instructions given on one of these sites.

However, if you don’t have regular internet access then you can also write to a credit reference agency with an enquiry, meaning that they then have seven working days to get back to you with the information you request. If you do write to a credit reference agency requesting information on your credit record, be sure that you provide them with sufficient information. This should generally include any names you have been known as in the past (for example if your name has changed due to marriage or a deed poll), date of birth, your present and past addresses (for the last six years is usually sufficient), proof of name and address (a bill generally work best for this, and it can be returned if you ask) and a cheque or postal order for £2 for whichever credit agency you chose to contact (don’t send cash).

George McKeenan is glad he learned how to check his credit history; it definitely saved him a lot of bother.


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