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Understanding your credit reports

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By Pete Mugleston  | Mortgage Advisor Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 22nd August 2019 *

If you look through the credit account info at the monthly credit account records you’ll see various numbers and codes that might not make any sense to the untrained eye! Below is a key to help you read yours. Remember if you haven't already, you can click the link here and sign up for your free trial credit reports.

There are 3 main reference agencies, and multiple re-sellers of reports that all present the information differently. Whichever report you look at, they are all split into sections in the same way. The important bits the lenders are looking at are:

  • Financial Account Information
    This outlines the monthly account conduct for all your active credit accounts. It includes phones, utilities, credit cards, loans, mortgages etc.
  • Public Record Information
    This covers details around any county court judgements (CCJ's) and bankruptcy etc.
  • Credit Search History
    This lists all the searches you've had on your credit report by different creditors / insurers etc.

Lenders also look at:

  • Address links
    This lists any links you've had to other addresses
  • Electoral Roll Information
    This is detail around where you are registered to vote and how long you've been registered there. The longer the better.
  • Connections & other names
    This lists any financial associates, usually being people you have or had joint accounts with.

Financial account information

Status How it looks on your file Description
Status 0  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.45.55 A status of '0' is usually green, representing a normal payment made on time;
Status 1, 2, 3 Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.46.42 Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.46.46 Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.46.51 A yellow ‘1’ for a single missed monthly payment; a yellow ‘2’ for accounts that are 2 months behind; a yellow ‘3’ for three months;
Status 4,5,6 Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.45.35 Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.48.04 Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.45.50 Then a red '4' for 4 months behind, red '5', and so on… the impact of these late payments to mortgage credit scores had a varying degree of severity depending on the number, type of account, and how recent they are, as detailed below.NOTE:If the account is defaulted it may show as '6', '8' or 'DF'.  
Unclassified  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.45.19 This is when payment conduct has not been reported by your creditor for some reason - it may be due to it being a newly opened account.
Debt Management Program  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.46.02 When you are in a DMP this registers on the system for Check My File as a 'DM', some other reference agencies will show it as 'AR' or just as late, not necessarily 'DM'.
Arrangement to pay  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 13.46.07 This is usually when you have been behind, or struggled to maintain payments and have made a personal arrangement with the lender to pay a lesser amount than you should.

An example:

This report shows conduct up to date since Sept 2010, being 3 payments behind in August, 2 in July, 1 in June. this means the payments that were in arrears to status 3 in August were paid back up to date in full in September.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 14.51.08

For mortgages with missed payments, defaults, and debt management plans follow these links.

 Public Record Information

This section covers any Bankruptcies, insolvencies, or court judgements filed in your name. As below, for CCJ's it outlines the type of issue, the date the issue was registered, the amount that it was registered for, and the court that registered the judgement. If it were a bankruptcy it would have the same details, with the date of satisfaction (discharge date), without the £ amount - this figure is not public info.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 14.35.45

For more info on mortgages for those with CCJs, repossessions, and Bankruptcy follow these links.

This information in your report will form the basis of the initial lending decision made. If approved based on your credit score, it  doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be accepted for the full mortgage - there is also your deposit and Loan to value, and your income and affordability to take into account. Every lender is different, so when it comes to getting the best mortgage for you you'll need to speak to an expert. Make an enquiry and someone will be in touch ASAP.

Updated: 22nd August 2019
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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

Find out more about how we help people get mortgages with bad credit.

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