Free Online Credit Reports

There are four main reasons to check your credit rating and report - some are especially relevant if you've graduated and are working, or if you're still a student. Equifax has a free trial - no need to spend any money! Why would you use a free credit check? Examples are if you've ever been refused credit and want to find out why, if you're going to be making some big purchases, if you want to protect against identity theft, find out where you credit rating is falling down and increase your chances of getting finance

Student Tip - be warned: simply missing a payment or exceeding your overdraft limit can negatively impact your credit file

Provider Package Benefits Free Trial Free Alerts Advice Price from Apply
Equifax Credit Report and Score
Equifax helps you understand what aspects lenders use to make a credit decision. It allows you to spot online identity theft with alerts and has comprehensive reports as well as expert tips and a user friendly format.
30 days Yes Yes £14.95 per month, cancel any time Go to site

If you are just trying Equifax to see your credit report, and find out what your credit score is, then this is totally legitimate. It'll give you a great idea on what information is included, and what your current ranking is. Just don't forget to cancel after your trial period!

Checking your credit file can be a massive thing - especially if you're a student. You can't do any harm by checking it, and you can get it totally free (see Equifax's 30 day free trial). Let us explain why we think you need to know what's in your credit file:

  • To give you an idea why you are being accepted or rejected by a company
  • So that you can work on improving your credit file if necessary so that you will have a better chance of being accepted
  • So that you know which companies have run searches on you. Lenders take these searches into account, and they should only happen if they have been authorised by you so checking it regularly is a good idea
  • Spot fraud early on
  • Ensure you know if you've had any late payments etc

What is your credit file?

What is in your credit file? Credit card companies, banks, and even mobile phone companies, use your credit file to see whether they want you as a customer. It's got loads of important details in it: - Financial data about you which includes details of any defaults, late payments or problems - Electoral roll information. This will give them your address and information on who lives with whom - Court records which include County Court Judgdements, (CCJs) and bankruptcies

Knowing why you have been rejected

If youre a student, and you're looking to get a student credit card or a mobile phone contract, there is a real possibility that your credit file will be quite empty. You may not have had any loans or accounts, or other financial contracts, but all this means that it is harder for companies to know whether you'll be a "safe bet" and whether or not you're likely to repay any money that they have lent you.

By checking your credit report you can see how many things you have in your file, and so work out if this is something you have to address.

Improving your credit file

You may have to improve your credit file for exactly the same reasons. Either there is not enough in there, or you've had, for example, a couple of late payments. If it's pretty scarce anyway, a couple of late payments may really stand out. You can improve your file in a number of ways - making sure you're on the electoral role, making sure you don't miss any payments, and getting a couple of new entries on there.

Who has run searches on you?

Let's say ten credit card companies run searches on your credit file to see if you'd make a good customer. If another credit card company then runs a search on you to see if it should lend to you, it'll see these previous other 10 companies and would wonder if you've been turned down by them for some reason, or if you have debt with these other companies. Basically, it'll lover your chances as you'll be seen as more of a risk. Companies should only run searches on you if you give them permission, and as searches can impact how other companies lend to you, it's a good idea to keep track on who has done a search.

Spot Fraud

This is a huge point - identity theft is common and people can use your name and address relatively easily to set up new mobile contracts etc. If they then default on these then it can affect your credit history really badly. If you're not checking your credit file you may never know about it until you get refused for something really important, and by then it'll be too late. Check your credit file regularly and if there is anything on it that you don't think is you, chase it up

Know when you've missed a payment

It's easy to miss a payment - for a mobile, for a credit card, or whatever. If they don't chase you straight away for it you may not even realise for a while. Especially if you're a student and bills are going back home and not to your term address (or you don't get any paper bills at all!). Missing payments can be a pain though - but again, check your credit report and although it's not updated too often, you may well pick up on something you've completely forgotten about

There's some pretty strong argument here to check your credit file - get the 30 day free trial, make sure you cancel it afterwards and it won't have cost you anything. It may tell you a lot of stuff about yourself though which you never knew..

Student Credit Cards