Your credit history – do you know the score?

August 30, 2017

If you’re thinking about applying for a mortgage or personal loan it is worth getting a copy of your credit report so you can see what the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) has on file about your track record in repaying loans. When you apply for a loan or other types of credit, such as a credit card, from a lender who is a member of the ICB, they will check your credit history to help them decide if they will give you a loan.

The ICB is a database containing information about how your current and previous credit agreements have performed. When you take out a loan, you give permission to the lender to send on details about payments in relation to that loan. The ICB keeps a factual record of payments made against loans for a period of five years after the loan is closed.  You can get a copy of your report from the ICB for €6. Even if you are not applying for a loan it is worth checking that your report accurately reflects your credit history and you can request your lender to correct any genuine mistakes.

If you missed repayments, didn’t clear a loan or credit card, or settled a loan for less than you owed, it will show up on your credit history for five years after the loan is closed. This could result in you being refused another loan. A history of enquiries financial institutions have made about you is kept on your record for 12 months.

What appears on your credit history?

Your credit history shows:

  • Your name, date of birth and address
  • Names of lenders and account numbers of any loans you currently have or that have been closed within the last five years
  • A history of all repayments made or missed for each month on each loan, including any loans or credit cards you did not pay off completely
  • Your Credit Bureau Score – if a lender has requested it
  • A record of any legal action your lender took against you.

What is your Credit Bureau Score?

A Credit Bureau Score (CBS) will not always appear on your credit report. It will only appear if a lender has requested it as part of a credit check about you. Your CBS is calculated based on your credit history at a point in time, and is based on criteria such as the number of late repayments you have made, the number of accounts you hold and the number of applications for credit you have made in the last year. As this information changes over time, your score will go up or down. A high (positive) score does not guarantee that you will be given a loan. Your lender may look at the score along with other details such as your income, employment, living costs and other financial commitments you have before deciding whether to approve your application.

New Central Bank of Ireland Register

From 30 June 2017, the Central Bank of Ireland has set up the Central Credit Register. This is a new centralised system for collecting personal and credit information on loans. It doesn’t hold any records from before the date it was set up.  You can find out more about it at www.centralcreditregister.ie.

 Credit Insights Database

Credit Insights is a database available to participating telecoms companies – Three, Vodafone and Eir. It contains details of contract customers who have not paid their bills with those companies and have been in arrears for a minimum of 90 days.  It applies to residential landline, broadband and bill-pay mobile phone contracts. Being included on the database may affect your ability to get a new contract with these companies.

 

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