If you've ever applied for credit or a loan, there will probably be a report about you with a credit reporting agency. Credit providers use this report to assess your capacity to repay a new loan or credit card, or if you seek to increase your limit on an existing loan or credit card.
It's a good idea to check your credit report every year to make sure there are no mistakes that could affect your credit record and your ability to get credit. You can get a copy of your credit report for free if you can wait 10 working days. You may have to pay if you need it quicker.
Repayment history information is now being collected (from Dec 2012) for your credit report and creditors can use this information to assess your ability to obtain credit from March 2014. This means that failing to make a payment by the due date now can affect your ability to get credit from March 2014.
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Case Study: Why it is important to check your credit file
Jin had an incorrect listing in his credit report. He had a personal loan with a bank. Even though he'd been meeting all his repayments, he received a default notice on his loan. Due to a processing error, his payments had not been credited to the loan for 2 months. The bank fixed the problem and adjusted the interest charged. Jin paid out the personal loan about a year later. When Jin applied for a home loan 2 years later, his application was rejected because of the old default listing on his personal loan. Jin contacted the bank and asked them to investigate and correct the listing, which they did. He reapplied for his home loan and got it.
This time could have been saved had he checked his credit file on a regular basis.