Everything you ever wanted to know about credit reports

What is a credit report?

Ireland does not currently have an agency that gives out personal credit scores or credit ratings as they do in the UK or in the USA.

The Central Credit Register (CCR) was established by the Central Bank of Ireland under a specific piece of legislation called the Credit Reporting Act 2013. The CCR keeps personal and credit information on loans of €500 or higher and provides credit reports to borrowers and prospective lenders.

Why do we have credit reports?

Credit reports exist to help protect borrowers from taking on more debt than they can afford.

When you fill out a loan application form, a lender will check your credit history. This helps your lender to decide whether to give you a loan or not based on the information you have provided along with what is currently held on your CCR credit report.

What’s on a credit report?

There’s some basic information like your name, date of birth, address and contact details on your CCR credit report.

It shows any loans greater than €500 you have, who they are with, for how much, for how long and when the next repayment is due. It includes current loans as well as past loans. The CCR shows information for five years after the last payment has been made and/or the loan was repaid.

And it also shows if you have applied for a loan for €2,000 or more.

It's not just loans, it’s all types of borrowing

Although the CCR talks about loans, this really means any borrowing of €500 or more.

This includes personal loans but also credit cards, overdrafts, loans, mortgages, business loans, car finance (for example, personal contract plans) and hire purchase (for example, ‘buy now, pay later’).

If you borrow from a bank, credit union, local authority, licensed moneylender or an asset finance house, and it’s for €500 or more, your loan will be on your credit report.

Where does all the information come from?

All lenders are required to send information on borrowers to the CCR every month. The CCR gathers all this data and creates up-to-date credit reports from it.

What does a credit report look like?

You can see a sample credit report for an individual and for a business/organisation on the CCR website.

Who can see my report?

Your personal credit report is confidential. It cannot be seen by your spouse, family members, landlords or employers unless you give your consent.

And it can only be seen by lenders if you are applying to borrow over €500 from them and you agree to release this information (this is often part of the application process).

Can I get a copy of my credit report?

Yes. Go to www.centralcreditregister.ie to request a free copy of your report. You will need to provide photo ID, proof of address and proof of your PPSN.

What do lenders use the credit report for?

Lenders use your credit report to make sure you can afford your repayments by checking how much you currently owe to other lenders and your track record of paying off borrowing over the past five years.

How can my credit report help me?

A good credit report gives you the best opportunity of getting credit in the future for things like buying a home, schooling for your children, getting a new car, starting a business etc. Personal credit reports can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing at every stage of your life.

How do I get a good credit report?

Try to make sure that you only borrow what you can afford to enable you to repay the amount on time and in full. A track record of repaying loans, clearing overdrafts etc on time and in full is reassuring for lenders. And, if you get into difficulties, talk to your lender as soon as possible - ideally before you miss any payments - to try to agree a way forward.

Can I see who has been checking my report?

Yes, every time a lender checks your report they leave a ‘footprint’ showing when they saw it and why. This record is kept for five years after the last lender checked your report. You can find ‘footprints’ at the bottom of your credit report.

What if there’s an error on my report?

You can contact the CCR and ask them to change data on your report if you think it is incomplete, inaccurate or not up to date.

One last thing...

Remember that the purpose of a credit report is to protect you, the borrower, by making sure that all your existing financial commitments are considered by lenders when they work out if you can afford to borrow from them.

The information prepared above by Bank of Ireland “BOI” is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial or tax advice. You should seek assistance from a professional if you require financial or tax advice. No liability is accepted by BOI for any errors or for any loss to any person in reliance on this information. BOI believes any information to be correct at 17 August 2023 the time of publishing and the information is subject to change without notice. BOI does not make any representations or warranties in respect of the accuracy of this information and is not responsible for the content of external sites. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for the use of the Bank of Ireland Group Website for further details.
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