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What are credit reference agencies?
Credit reference agencies (CRAs) give lenders a range of information about potential borrowers, which lenders use to make decisions about whether they will offer you credit or not. They hold certain information about most adults in the UK.
The three main consumer credit reference agencies in the UK are Callcredit, Equifax and Experian.
Most of the information held by the CRAs relates to how you have maintained your credit and service/utility accounts. It also includes details of your previous addresses and information from public sources such as the electoral roll, public records including county court judgments, and bankruptcy and insolvency data.
The information held by the CRAs is also used to verify the identity, age and residency of individuals, to identify and track fraud, to combat money laundering and to help recover payment of debts. Government bodies may also access this credit data to check that individuals are entitled to certain benefits and to recover unpaid taxes and similar debts.
Credit reference agencies are licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority.