Your credit report contains the information lenders see when they are deciding whether to lend to you or not. If you know what it contains, you will have a better idea of what credit you can apply for.
You can check your credit score with a statutory report from any of the three UK credit agencies.
You can check your statutory credit report with any of the three credit reference agencies in the UK – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
Each credit reference agency provides your standard statutory credit report, costing £2, and monthly paid for services that provide extras like your credit score and ID fraud alerts. So even if you can get a credit check online, you may wish to maintain a paid account in order to continuously monitor your online credit report.
Credit reports can be a vital tool for managing your finances, but they're also not as easy to access and use as they should be. Learn how to check your credit rating by reading this summary, or see our guides at the bottom of the page for more.
Potential lenders will use your credit report to make assessments on your financial capabilities, so it can be a good idea to stay ahead of the game and get your online credit rating.
Compiled by the three credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports collect information from your current and previous financial providers about the types of credit you’ve had, how much, and your repayments to create a personalised credit report.
When you apply for credit, potential lenders will want to find out whether you’ll be able to repay the debt by running a credit history check. In addition to the information on your application, one tool they will use to decide whether or not you are a reliable borrower is your credit report from credit agencies.
Just search for 'free credit score', ‘free credit report uk’, 'check my credit file free' or ‘credit check free’ and you’ll find a host of supposedly free services offering your credit report online, but how do you know who to trust to get a free credit check online?
Currently you can get hold of your statutory credit report for £2 per credit reference agency. As we recommend checking your reports at least once a year, the minimum financial commitment is £6 a year.
As well as the £2 report, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian may also offer 'free credit check' online services as temporary introductions to their paid-for services. The typical introductory period is one month, after which you are charged a monthly fee.
Many of the biggest credit reporting agencies offer free credit checks for 30 days before paying a monthly fee, so in reality the marketing of “credit check free” or “free credit report UK” is not going to help you if you need another credit check a month or two down the line.
A free credit rating check may only be useful if you just want a one-off look before you apply for a mobile contract or credit card and don’t want to risk a rejection further harming your credit search. If you are interested in more information about this, read more in our guide to free credit reports.
Whether you get a free credit check online or pay for it, different credit reporting agencies will have different methods of checking your credit score. A TransUnion check may be different than an Experian credit report.
For example, an Experian credit report will include information from financial providers that a TransUnion check may not have, and vice versa.
A credit history check can also reduce your vulnerability to online fraud and improve your security against identity theft.
By using an online credit check company, such as Experian, you can find out where your pertinent details are mentioned and take action to delete them if they make you vulnerable.
If you'd like to find out more about how to check credit scores, read our guides on credit reports.