It can be overwhelming taking your first steps into renting a property. There’s a lot of responsibility suddenly placed on your shoulders and you’re expected to know exactly what you’re doing. The truth is, no one really does know (yep, even the adult adults).
This is why we’re here to help you navigate through one of the more confusing steps you’ll take with renting – credit reports, checks and scores.
What actually is credit?
In simple terms, credit is the ability to borrow money. This could be a loan from a bank or arranging an overdraft.
It can also be known as something called ‘service credit’; this is when you pay a company each month for a service they then provide you with.This applies to things such as utility bills (gas, electricity, etc), phone contracts and gym memberships.
The kind of payments referred to above is reported to companies called ‘credit reference agencies’, as they compile all the information about how well these payments have been paid and they put all the information together into a credit report.
What’s a credit report?
It’s a record of a person’s financial history and its purpose is to show how well someone has handled credit in the past. It basically boils down any late payments, on-time payments, overdrafts and loans into a bullion cube which becomes the credit report. The credit report is normally updated once a month.
If someone has faced bankruptcy or been served a County Court Judgement (CCJ), this will also show in a credit report and will stay there for six years.
Having a credit report therefore makes it easier for companies to get a clear picture of someone’s financial behaviour.
What’s the difference between a credit report and a credit score?
A credit score is very much self explanatory. It basically processes the information from the credit report and spits out an overall ‘rating’ or score of how well someone manages their credit. The higher it is, the better. By performing a credit check, companies are able to both look at someone’s credit score and credit report.
What is a credit check?
A credit check is when a company looks at someone’s credit report to understand their financial history and behaviour. The company would need a legitimate reason to perform this check. This could be a case of a person applying for a loan.
Umega performs a credit check on all of our tenants, to ensure that tenants have no previous bankruptcies or has a track record of late payments/arrears. This helps to ensure the landlord that the tenant will be reliable.
How does Umega credit check tenants?
We use a portal called Amiqus ID, which performs all of our reference checks. During the move in process, someone from our Admin team will send the Amiqus ID link via email.
The tenant will then need to upload their personal details (name, date of birth, etc.), along with three years of address history. If a tenant has lived in the UK for less time than this, we’re normally able to credit check them anyway as long as they’ve lived in the UK for at least a year or longer. The Amiqus credit check is a ‘soft’ check, which means it does not appear on your credit report and will not impact your credit scores.
As credit reference agencies pull information from the person’s bank, it’s important that the tenant supplies the address that’s linked to their bank account, so that Amiqus is able to find their credit report.
That’s okay! Finance is always a difficult subject to grasp. But luckily websites such as Experian and Equifax have bundles of easy to read information about credit checks and reports. And if you have any questions about our credit check process, our team will always be happy to talk things through with you. Just drop us an email or call the office.