Taking out a loan or mortgage with your bank?
Before you get the stamp of approval, your financial institution will run a check on your credit rating (applicable to anyone who has previously borrowed money), which basically involves your history of credit agreements and repayments (good or bad). This information is used to decide your ability to repay the loan and, if it’s unsatisfactory, could result in your loan application being refused. The higher your score, the lower your risk profile.
If you’re interested in discovering your current score, or taking the necessary steps to build up a solid credit history, the process is quite simple. The main reference agency in Ireland is the Irish Credit Bureau, which holds five years of information regarding active loans, if the information has been provided to the ICB by your lender. That includes names and addresses, active or previously active loans, any repayments which were missed, loans which you failed to pay off in full or settled for a smaller amount, and any legal action taken against you by your lender.
Copies of your credit report can be obtained from the ICB via an application form (online or through the post), with a fee of €6 required. A sample credit report is available here.
Although you can’t remove any negative information (unfortunately), you can apply to have any mistakes corrected. If you find an error, contact your lender directly and request that they amend the information immediately. If you have any issues you can file a formal complaint with the Financial Services Ombudsman or get in touch with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
So – if all of your information is correct, but you’re still not happy with your score, what can you do to improve matters? There are a number of steps expert advise you to take:
- Clear any remaining debt;
- Stick to repayment schedules;
- Begin to save regularly – highlighting that you can live without your means and act financially responsible;
- Take out a small loan and ensure you manage the repayments as required.