What Is a Credit Search? Easy to Follow Guide

What is a credit search?

A Credit Search is when you apply for credit, the bank or financial institution you apply to will look at your credit report information, and a ‘credit search’ is recorded. Your credit report can usually only be searched with your consent and knowledge, and it cannot be looked at by just anyone.

Why are credit searcheCredit Searchs shown on my credit report?

Credit Searches are included on your credit report so you know which banks, financial institutions and other companies have looked at your information, and also so that banks and financial institutions can use the credit searches to see how much other credit you have applied for recently.

How do credit searches affect my Credit Score?

Your Credit Score will decrease if you have had a credit search within the last 6 months. A large number of recent credit applications may indicate that you are somewhat ‘desperate’ for credit and therefore may struggle to pay it back. As a result of this the bank or financial institution are more than likely to decline your application.

What can I do to protect my Credit Score, when I need to apply for credit?

  1. Use your Credit Report and Score to determine how good your credit report is looking.
  2. Use an online Credit Matching service to get an idea of the types of deals you are more likely to be eligible for. ‘Shopping’ for credit offers before you apply does not affect your credit score.
  3. Once you’ve carefully made a choice based on what you’re more likely to get accepted for, make your application, but remember to only make one.
  4. Wait for the result of your application before making any more credit applications, as numerous credit applications have a negative impact on your credit score.
  5. If you get accepted, great! If you get declined, speak to the bank or financial institution you applied to, to understand why. You will most likely be required to write a letter for this information. Use that information to shape your next credit application, or speak to your Credit Agency to find out how you can improve your credit report.

What are previous searches and why are they on my credit report?

When your credit report is searched, the record of this search will remain on your credit report for 12 months. It’s then automatically removed.

Previous searches are on your credit report because they help to build a picture of your recent financial history. It shows a lender how many credit applications you’ve made in the last 12 months, helping them to make their decision about whether or not to lend you money.

There is a search on my credit report that I don’t recognise

If there are searches on your credit report that you don’t recognise, you should contact your credit agency as soon as you can, so that they can look into this for you, as this could be a sign of identity theft.

Take a look at the previous searches section of your report and make sure of the following:

  1. You recognise the names of all the companies, banks and financial institutions who have searched your credit report
  2. You can recall why those companies searched your report, e.g. you made a credit application to them around the date of the search.
  3. You can recall why a company, if they are not a bank or financial institution, might have searched your credit report, e.g. you requested an insurance quote or started a new job.

What is an ‘unrecorded enquiry’?

Unlike a credit search this is a type of search of your credit report that doesn’t affect your Credit Score, and is not visible to a bank or financial institution if you apply for credit.

Examples of unrecorded enquiries, that do not affect your credit score:

  • When a company searches your report to conduct an identity check.
  • When you look at your own Credit Report.
  • If you request an insurance quotation

What is a financial associate search? 

Financial Associate Searches appear on your credit report when someone you are financially linked to has had a credit search recorded on their credit report . Because you will appear in their report as a financial association, your credit report is also searched and will also have a credit search recorded. No need to worry though as financial associate searches are not visible to other banks and financial institutions.

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