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Practical tips to help you improve your credit rating and avoid expensive high interest loans

3 Reasons Why a Free Credit Report Will Not Tell You Everything You Need to Know

An image of a cartoon man holding a credit report

Today there are lots of opportunities to get free credit reports.

If you think you have a bad credit rating and but are looking to get a loan, these free reports will not tell you everything that you need to know.

In this article we look and some of the key information that you need to know about your credit file, and what these free reports will not tell you.

No hiding place from your credit rating!


In the old days, a poor credit rating would simply stop you obtaining a loan at a low rate, however, times have changed and it is now a factor across many aspects of your life.

A bad credit report can be enough to see a potential landlord reject your rental application, have your phone provider reject your mobile phone contract application, it may even hinder your chances of getting a job!

Click here to see some of the wide-ranging effects of a bad credit score.


What Can Affect Your Credit Rating?An image of a credit score chart

With the heightened importance of our personal credit history, it is important to understand how the credit scoring system works and what can negatively impact it.

Below we have drawn up a list of some of the most important factors used by credit reference agencies to determine your credit score.

  • Are You On The Electoral Register? This is important because being registered to vote gives lenders proof of address.
  • How Many Accounts Do You Have? Lots of different streams of debt will be viewed as a big negative. Demonstrate your ability to repay the debt by paying off and closing the relevant account as soon as possible.
  • Limit The Number of Applications You Make. Submitting too many applications in a short period of time will negatively impact your credit score and will be a major concern in the eyes of potential lenders.
  • Make All Scheduled Repayments. Late or missed payments stay on your record for at least 3 years and are a definite red flag for lenders.
  • How Often Do You Move House? Lenders are widely known to place much less trust in those who move house frequently
  • Guilt By Association. If you hold (or held) a joint account with someone who has a bad credit record, this can also affect your ability to get credit. Close it as soon as possible.
  • Do You Maintain a Regular Income? Permanent jobs and regular income reflect positively on your credit report.

Click here to see some of the other common factors that can impact your credit score.

Monitoring Your Credit ReportAn image of an excellent credit report

Now that you know a little more about some of the factors used to determine your credit score, the next step is to take a look at your credit report.

If you are not sure of your current credit rating and are thinking of taking out a loan, applying for a new mobile phone contract, applying for a credit card or moving energy provider etc, checking your credit report is essential to guide your next decision.

In the following article, Kevin Mountford, a banking specialist from, commented specifically on the importance of keeping a regular check on your credit report:

How To Check Your Credit Report?

Almost every adult in the UK has a credit score produced by a credit reference agency.


These agencies rate your credit-worthiness by keeping track of your bills, debts and repayments. You can gain access to your credit report by contacting:

  • Any of the 3 major UK credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax or CallCredit) or
  • Choose to obtain a multi-agency report.

These are generated through a 3rd party organisation which gathers and collates the information stored by the 3 agencies to produce one comprehensive report.

One thing to remember is typically the credit referencing agencies offers both free and paid reports.

Although the majority of people instinctively opt for the free option, there are 3 reasons why this may not provide you with all of the information that you need:

1Free credit reports only provide access to your credit score for 30 Days onlyAn image of a red credit report button

Signing up for a free credit report will provide you with a snapshot of the past and current details relating to your finances.

However, you must remember that you will only have free access to these details for 30 days from the moment that you sign up with the CRA. Once the 30 days has expired you will have to choose the paid option should you wish to view your details again.

James Price highlights his problems with this below:

“I was very disappointed to find out that you can view your credit report in the 30-day free period only”

“I originally signed up for a free credit report with Experian over 10 years ago in order to view my current credit rating. After finding everything in order, I never gave it another thought and did not log back in.” 

“However several years later, after having a personal loan application declined, I tried to log back in to my account and only to find that despite only using the service once, I no longer had access to a free credit report and would have to pay if I and wanted to see my credit score again.” 

“I was very disappointed to find out that regardless of how many times you actually view your credit report in the 30 day period, you can only sign up for the free option once and would strongly recommend that anyone signing up for the free options bears this in mind.”

How to check your credit report – Grab your file and check your score for free

2. Free credit reports do not offer a universal credit ratingAn image of scrabble tiles spelling credit rating

Many people obtain a free credit report in the belief that the information they find will guarantee the success or failure of their planned application.

The truth is that each lender has different criteria for their potential customers and as such, regardless of the information that you receive, the ultimate decision rests firmly on the shoulders of each lender.

For more information on why free credit reports do not offer a universal credit rating, please take a moment to view the following Debt Advice Foundation article:

3. A free report may not show critical informationAn image of a risk assessment word cloud

The free reports often do not show critical information such as joint accounts that will impact your credit report.

If your partner has a history of bad debt, there is every chance that it will reflect on you.

It is therefore absolutely crucial that if you split up with someone with whom you have had joint finances with, once your finances are no longer linked, you must write to the credit reference agencies to ask them for a notice of disassociation.

This will stop their credit history affecting yours in the future and help you to receive far more accurate results.

The following Economic Voice article explores ‘The True Value of a Free Credit Report’.

Excellent Value Loans From The UK’s Top Bad Credit Lenders

If your credit report has highlighted a poor credit rating, we are ideally positioned to offer a range of specialist poor credit loans from the UK’s top lenders.

Our process has been streamlined to ensure that the submission of one easy to complete application will then be sent out to each of our lenders resulting in the loan offers to flood in.

Why not use our Loan Calculator to work out how much you can afford to borrow, and then use our loan application form to start the process.

Jon Edward
Jon Edward
Passionate about helping people find options, when on first glance there do not appear to be any.

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