Get Yourself a Free Credit Check
What is a credit check?
In short, a credit check is a detailed report of your credit history, which includes mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, mobile phone contracts and sometimes even utility payments. If you are over the age of 18 and have ever taken out 'credit' then a credit reference agency will hold some information on your payments to them.
When should I get one?
Parts of your report will be checked if you apply for a mortgage, to rent a property or for any type of credit so it makes sense to check your report in advance of any applications you might be looking to make. If you apply for credit and are denied, this will also show up so it is vital to check that all the information contained within your report is accurate and up to date. If you apply for credit and are unsuccessful then make sure you go through your report carefully, especially if the rejection was unexpected. Even having incorrect personal information can result in an application for credit being unsuccessful. It is also useful to regularly check your report to make sure that you are protecting yourself against identity fraud. It is easy to think 'it will never happen to me' but the reality is that more people are becoming the victims of ID fraud. By regularly looking at your credit report you can quickly spot if anything is amiss and take steps to address any problems.
Where can I find it?
There are a number of companies that offer you the chance to view your credit report, type the phrase into any search engine and you will be hit with a number of different websites and companies. The first thing you may be wondering is whether it is safe to view your credit report online when it is offered for free. As long as you are careful and only access your credit report through a reputable company then you will be safe. You should also be aware that having your credit report posted out to you makes you more vulnerable than viewing it online as there is an increased risk of it being delivered to the wrong address or intercepted and if it fell into the wrong hands, then you could become the victim of identity fraud.
It is also worth finding out what you will see when you sign up for your free credit check. Not all companies offer your full report; some just allow you see your credit 'score' which is a culmination of information pulled from different sources. Others will show you your credit report but only for a set number of days, after which you will be required to pay for the privilege.
Equifax offers free check and report of your credit history for 30 days after signing in. Experian claim to offer unlimited access to your credit report using their mobile app. You can check also TransUnion as it is one of the top major credit bureaus.