What do lenders know about me? *panic rising*

By Natasha Culzac

Lenders know a good deal about your financial affairs. Get clued up on exactly what information they do and don't have.

Lenders are pretty omniscient. They kind of know everything. Even the time you snogged your best mate’s sibling.
We jest, obviously. Lenders have a limited amount of data on you.

Like what?

When you apply for a product like a loan, they’ll have the stuff you put in your application, such as your age and salary. Additionally, they’ll have any information they privately hold on you, for example if you got credit from them previously or if you’ve been banking with them for years.

As part of a formal credit application – and with your consent – they’ll conduct a credit check. For this they’ll take a look at your credit report, which details your financial history going back six years (prior to that it’s a nice, white slate).

What do you mean ‘financial history’?

Well, primarily it’s about your relationship with credit and financial accounts. That can be anything from a credit card, to your mobile phone contract and utility bills.

Reports generally throw up the following:

- How much – or little – debt you’ve recently had

- Whether you’re any good at paying your bills, including household ones such as gas

… Particularly whether you’ve missed some payments

- Defaulted on any debts?

- Got a maxed-out credit card? Or gone over your limit?

- How many applications you’ve recently done to get your hands on credit (if you’ve applied for five different credit cards within two days it smacks of financial desperation)

- Are you in receipt of a CCJ (County Court Judgement) that hasn’t been paid off within a month? Been bankrupt?

- Are you registered to vote? (funnily enough being on the electoral register looks good to lenders)

Anything else?

Yes. If you have a joint credit account, like a mortgage, with someone, lenders will be able to see both of your reports. So if one of you has a less-than-appetising credit history, it won’t affect the other’s score, but it could factor into the decision-making of the lender. If you want to know more, read this article that explains 'how lenders decide to give you credit'.

They’ll also be able to see if you got out a payday loan. Again, though it shouldn’t negatively impact your score, the fact that you got one out could affect the lender’s decision.

Details of your current and former addresses, as well as any repossessions, are also available to lenders in your report.

What don’t know they know?

Lenders won’t know what savings you have (unless you’re applying for something through the bank where your savings are kept), nor will they know your medical history, political beliefs or criminal record. They also don’t know whether previous applications you’ve made for credit have been approved or declined unless, of course, that credit was declined by them. If you want to know more about what really affects your credit score, click here.

Simply put lenders only know key information from your financial history excluding how much money you have put away underneath the mattress. What they  really want to establish is if they are likely to see a return on the money they lend you. Outside of that they are not they really don’t need or want that much information about you.

Top takeaway

Thankfully lenders don't know everything about you but they do know the key points about your financial history. So be careful with your finances, avoid missing payments on credit and whatever they do know shouldn't be of concern to you or them.


By Natasha Culzac

Thanks to a journalistic career history and a childhood at Sylvia Young Theatre School, Natasha has her fingers in a few professional pies, doing her best impression of a model and actor as well as personal finance writer. Outside of work she compulsively watches BBC period dramas and constantly lies to herself that this year will be the year she learns French, once and for all.

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