The quick answer to this question is, the only people who can look at your credit report is those you give permission to and yourself.
One question that may also rise is, who makes up my credit report? Who compiles the information and details that make-up a credit report?
Credit reports are in essence databases comprised of information on us, and also information and details of any credit accounts we may have, or have had in the previous six (6) years.
Credit reports/history, are created by credit bureaus.
There are different credit bureaus throughout the world, and here in the UK we have three (3) credit bureaus:
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These credit bureaus gather data/information on us, that is reported to them by banks, lenders, insurance companies, and other agencies, to create a report or history of what accounts we have, and how we have paid those accounts.
The credit bureaus and lenders then take five (5) factors and create a credit score, a numerical score that is used to determine our credit worthiness, based on:
* Payment history 35%
* Account balances 30%
* Types of accounts we have 10%
* How long we have had credit 15%
* How often we apply for credit 10%
Our credit report, and credit score are important to know, and it is also important to know who may looking at it, and why.
You Need to Give Permission
Before anyone can view your credit history or credit score, you must give them permission, you need to sign a release, or verbally enter into an agreement for them to look at your credit report.
Obviously if you apply for a loan or credit card, then the lender is going to view your credit report and credit score. But there are some instances where you may not be aware someone is looking at your credit.
Employers: For some jobs, a potential employer may as a part of the hiring process wish to view your credit report. They will advise you of this, and you again need to give permission for them to do so.
The permission is usually implied and included in any application you may complete.
These views on your credit history, or “footprints” or inquiries, do not have a negative impact on your credit score, where as too many inquiries from lenders can bring down your credit score.
Some employers use credit ratings and scores as a way in vetting perspective employees.
Insurance: Some insurance companies for some insurance polices also use credit scores and view applicants credit histories as a part of underwriting or approving an insurance policy.
When You Don’t Need to Give Permission
There are times when someone may view a part of your credit report, and do so without your permission.
Credit bureaus give out lists of people whose credit scores fall within a certain group, pre-selected for credit, to credit card companies and others, so they can use this limited information to send out offers, and other promotional emails and letters.
These “soft” inquiries also do not affect your credit score.
Eligibility Checkers: If you are considering applying for a loan or credit card, using an eligibility checker for the loan I a great way to find out if you may be approved, and it also does not affect your credit score or show a footprint on your credit file.
Eligibility checkers are a soft inquiry, and while not a 100% guarantee you will be approved for the loan or credit card, are a good way to know with less doubt you will be approved.
Looking at Our Own Credit History
If we are going to allow others to look at our credit report, we should also view it ourselves and for good reason.
You need to be sure there are no mistakes, errors on your credit file, and the best way to do this is to look at it yourself.
It is FREE to get a copy of your credit file, and you should review it at best on an annual basis.
By correcting any errors, placing yourself on the Electoral Role, you can improve and increase your credit score.
And you looking at your credit history does not affect your credit score or show an inquiry.