Understanding your credit file

How do I find out my credit score? What does a credit file show? What's the difference between a credit file and a credit score? Check out this blog to get the answer to all of your credit file-related questions!

Understanding your credit file

Knowing your credit file can save you money

According to research conducted by Cranfield School of Management, the average family with a low credit rating spends an extra £1,170 each year on items of credit, i.e. mobile phone contracts, utility bills, loans, and credit cards, than those with a good credit rating. That's a lot of money! But, by understanding what's on your credit file and making some small changes, you can improve your credit rating and end up paying less for the credit you take out.

Checking your credit history

You can find information on your credit file with the help of credit reference agencies, such as Experian, TransUnion, Credit Karma, and ClearScore (which are all free to use). But, it's worth knowing that some firms will charge a small fee to show you your credit history.

Did you know... credit files and credit scores are two completely different things?

A credit file is a collection of information about your payment history for the products or credit you've taken out. Whereas, a credit score is the number that represents your creditworthiness. It takes into account the types of loans you've taken out and how well you've paid them. The higher your score, the higher your chances of being accepted for credit, i.e. a mortgage, credit card, or loan.

What does your credit file show?

Your credit file shows an overview of all the credit accounts you've had over the last six years, including:


  • Utility bills
  • Bank accounts
  • Mobile phone contracts
  • Catalogue and/or online account subscriptions


Past and/or current issues

Not all the credit you've ever had will be known by all of the agencies, as some companies pick and choose who they send this information to. For example, your bank may send your information to Experian, but not to Equifax, which means Equifax will have no evidence of you having a bank account.

Top tip

Keeping track of your credit score and regularly checking your credit report can help to you easily identify any mistakes, such as inaccurate information about your payment history.

Check out our YouTube video, 'Understanding your credit file - a guide to UK credit files and credit ratings' for a quick overview on how to manage your credit file and how you can improve your credit rating. 👇


Information includes references to:

Cranfield School of Management - Poor credit scores cost UK families £3.5bn a year

Advice | 03.11.21

You may also like...