Credit Scores and Reports – Info Sheet

Lenders use your credit score (or credit rating) to decide whether to give you credit or lend you money. Knowing this can help you negotiate better deals, or understand why a lender rejected you.

Your credit score is based on personal and financial information about you that’s kept in your credit report.

You have a right to access your credit score and credit report for free.

If you want to fix something in your credit report, see the guide on credit repair.

Get your credit score and report for free

If you’ve ever applied for credit or a loan, there will be a credit report about you. This includes your credit score.

You have a right to get a copy of your credit report and credit score for free every 3 months. It’s worth getting a copy at least once a year.

Usually, you can access your report online within a day or two. Or you could have to wait up to 10 days to get your report by email or mail.

Contact these credit reporting agencies for your free credit score and credit report:

Since different agencies can hold different information, you may have a credit report with more than one agency.

Alternatively, you can get your credit score for free from an online credit score provider, usually within minutes. When you sign up, you agree to their privacy policy, which lets them use your personal information for marketing. You can opt out of this after you sign up.

Avoid any provider that asks you to pay or give them your credit card details.

How your credit score is calculated

Your credit score is calculated based on what’s in your credit report. For example:

  • the amount of money you’ve borrowed
  • the number of credit applications you’ve made
  • whether you pay on time

Depending on the credit reporting agency, your score will be between zero and either 1,000 or 1,200.

The score relates to a five-point scale (excellent, very good, good, average and below average). This helps a lender work out how risky it is for them to lend to you.

A higher score means the lender will consider you less risky. This could mean getting a better deal and saving money.

A lower score will affect your ability to get a loan or credit.