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Why should you get a Credit Report before Applying for a Credit Card?

Aug 17, 2007
How much do you know about your credit report? Do you know what gets recorded in it, and how your credit report affects you when you apply for a credit card? Here are some things you should know about your credit report.

- What is a credit report?
Consumer credit reporting agencies compile information about you through many sources. These include your accounts with utility companies, any accounts you may have with merchants, credit card vendors and other lenders. Your report provides a snapshot of your credit history. When a lender looks at your report, they'll be able to tell if you generally make your bill and account payments on time, how much credit you have available to you and whether or not you're a good financial risk for the to loan money.

- What's in my credit report?
Your credit report contains anything having to do with your credit history. Among the things most often noted are the credit cards that you hold, the limit on each and the outstanding balance; the date and amount of any missed or late payments on cards and other accounts; your record of paying your utilities on time; your employment information, including amount and source of income; whether you have ever had a loan or account written off, and whether there have been any CCJs issued against you.

Someone who accesses your credit report will know how much you make, how much you owe, how much more credit you have available to you and how responsible you are about paying your bills.

- Who can see my credit report?
Only you and those with a valid reason for needing information about your credit history can access your report. Those valid reasons include verifying income for loan purposes, checking credit before leasing you a flat or checking your credit records before hiring you for a job.

In general, any of these people must have your permission before accessing your credit report. When you sign an application for a loan or a job or a place to live, chances are the application includes a clause granting permission for the company or individual to check your credit report.

- How does a credit card company use my credit report?
When you apply for a credit card, the company will check your credit report to see if you fit the profile of their ideal credit card holder. The better your score is, the more likely you are to be offered a deal at an excellent interest rate.

- Why should I get my credit report before I apply for a credit card?
Sometimes mistakes are made. By checking your own credit report before you apply for a credit card, you can catch mistakenly reported overdue accounts and other adverse information that's in error before it affects your chances of getting a credit card.

- How can I fix things on my credit report before I apply for a credit card?
If you find a mistake on your report, you should notify it in writing with any evidence you have to support it to the credit reporting agency with the erroneous record.

- Now that I've got my credit report, where do I find a credit card?
There are some great comparison sites out there where you can compare credit card terms and conditions, apply online and find the best deal for you. You can visit these to find out more about how to compare rates and conditions and apply for the best credit card online.
About the Author
Jon Francis has been involved with finance for many years! With an in-depth knowledge of the credit card UK market help helps others get the best from a credit card.
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