What is a Credit Search?
Credit reference agencies maintain information about you and your credit history, which is contained within
a credit search. This credit search information is gathered on an ongoing basis from many sources that have
extended you credit.
Lenders, employers, landlords, and other service providers buy that information in the form of a credit search
to help them decide whether to approve your application for a loan, credit card, job, or housing, or to offer
you a product or service at a particular rate.
Because your credit search content changes constantly, it's important that you review your credit search
information regularly to check its accuracy. Do you need to check your credit search now?
What information is included within your credit search?
Credit Search Personal information.Compiled from credit applications you've filled out, this information
normally includes your name, current and recent addresses, and date of birth, and current and previous employers.
Credit Search Credit history. The bulk of your credit search consists of details about credit accounts
that were opened in your name or that list you as an authorised user (such as a spouse's credit card). Account
details, which are supplied by creditors with which you have an account, include the date the account was opened,
the credit limit or amount of the loan, the payment terms, the balance, and a history that shows whether
or not you've paid the account on time. Closed or inactive accounts, depending on the manner in which they
were paid, stay on your credit search for up to 6 years from the date of their last activity.
Credit Search Inquiries. Credit reference agencies record an inquiry whenever your credit search is
shown to another party, such as a lender, service provider, landlord, or insurer. Inquiries remain on your
credit search for up to two years.
Credit Search Public records. Matters of public record obtained from government sources such as courts
of law -- including County Court Judgments and bankruptcies -- may appear on your credit search.
Most public record information stays on your credit search for 6 years.
What is Not Included?
A credit search does not include information about your current or savings accounts, bankruptcies that are more than 6 years old, charged-off or debts placed for collection that are more than 6 years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history, or criminal records. Your credit score is generated by information on your credit search, but is not part of the credit search itself.
Who Can Look at Your Credit Search?
Anyone with what is considered a permissible purpose can look at your credit search.
These companies, groups, and individuals include:
- Potential lenders
- Insurance companies
- Employers and potential employers (usually only with your written consent)
- Companies you allow to monitor your account for signs of identity theft
- Any government agency (although they may be allowed to view only certain portions)
- Someone who uses your credit search to provide a product or service you have requested
- Someone that has your written authorisation to obtain your credit search