Your credit history
When you fill out a loan application form, the lender will check your credit history. This helps your lender decide whether to give you a loan or not.
Irish Credit Bureau
Most lenders use a credit reference agency, the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) to check your credit history and see your track record in repaying loans. The ICB builds your credit history using information it gets about your various loan agreements from your lenders.
What is your Credit Bureau score?
Your Credit Bureau score is calculated based on your credit history, and may consider, for example, 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 12 months. As this information changes over time, your score will go up or down.
When you apply for credit, you give the lender permission to check your information with the Irish Credit Bureau and they can ask for this score as part of your report. 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, and then decide whether or not to approve your loan.
Central Credit Register
The Central Credit Register was set up on 30 June 2017. The Central Bank of Ireland is in charge of operating the Central Credit Register.
Every month the Central Credit Register collects and stores personal and credit information from lenders, including licenced moneylenders and local authorities, about existing loans or new loans they give to consumers. Lenders who give out loans of €500 or more will have to inform the Central Credit Register of these loans. Information on smaller loans of less than €500 is not collected.
What type of information is held on the Central Credit Register?
The Central Credit Register will include information on loans such as credit cards, overdrafts, personal loans and mortgages. The intention is to include information on other types of lending like hire purchase agreements and personal contract plans (PCPs), but this is not being collected yet.
You can find out more about what’s included on the Central Credit Register on the Central Bank of Ireland’s website.
Consumers can now request a credit report from the Central Credit Register, your credit report is free (subject to fair usage) and you can submit a request through the Central Bank of Ireland’s website.
Why your credit history is so important
When you sign up for a mortgage, personal loan, credit card or overdraft, you should be aware that your lender will send information about your repayments to the Central Credit Register (if the loan amounts to €500 or more) and the ICB. This information is what forms 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. This will be within the last five years for your ICB and since June 2017 on the Central Credit Register
- 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 (this only applies to the ICB)
- A record of any legal action your lender took against you
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.
Your credit report gives a full picture of your credit history, good and/or bad. A bad credit rating may mean that you will be refused a loan, even if you have the income to repay it.