Checking credit scores or ratings seems to be a big thing in the UK – with several firms regularly advertising apps offering to check your credit score for free. Some of the UK names include Credit Karma and ClearScore
Here in Ireland there are currently only two ways to check your credit rating or credit score.
Central Credit Register.
The most recent credit register was set up in Ireland in 2017 – it is called the Central Credit Register. (CCR). The Central Bank of Ireland is in charge of operating the Central Credit Register.
It is supposed to help stop loans or credit facilities being given to people who won’t be able to repay them.
If someone misses repayments on a loan, didn’t clear a loan or credit card, or settled a loan for less than what was owed, it will show up on their credit history for five years after the loan is closed. This could result in that person being refused another loan.
Tip – If you are refused a credit card – and you just want one to be able to reserve car hire or hotel rooms – there is an alternative option.
Bunq provides an “Easy Bank Card” which is recognised as a Mastercard credit card by the payment systems. It is a prepaid credit card – i.e. you can only spend the balance you have loaded onto it. But if you are looking for the functionality of a credit card without having to pass a credit check – or worry about overspending – this is ideal.
It also has no fees on spending outside the Eurozone. It costs €2.99 per month.
Bunq is covered by the Dutch banking guarantee – up to €100,000. Read more about Bunq – or go straight to the Bunq website to apply.
Credit report requests
Credit Reports on the Central Credit Register can be requested by consumers for free . You have the right to request your own credit report for free at any time and check your credit rating. (See – www.centralcreditregister.ie ). The CCR will not give you a credit score- they just tell you the information they hold on you.
Your credit report gives a full picture of your credit history, good and/or bad. A bad credit report may mean that you could be refused a loan, even if you have the income to repay it.
Each month personal information is submitted by your lender to the Central Credit Register. This is to ensure that all your loans that you may have with different lenders are correctly matched on the Central Credit Register.
Credit information includes positive credit information, for example, that a credit card payment has been made; and negative credit information, for example, that a payment has not been made.
If a lender requests your credit report, they will only see the most recent two years information on your credit report.
Data on the Central Credit Register
All lenders are now obliged to provide data to this Central Credit Register.
It is expected that the new Central Credit Register will eventually remove the need for the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) (see below for more on this).
Data about loans and credit cards since June 2017 is stored on the Central Credit Register and all lenders who give out loans of €500 or more are obliged to transfer information on these loans to the register.
All lenders considering loan applications , PCP or hire purchases of €2000 or more are obliged to enquire on the Central Credit Register for a borrowers credit report.
In addition, lenders may obtain credit reports if borrowers seek to restructure a loan, are in arrears on any loan repayments, or are seeking a loan under €2,000.
The Central Credit Register stores information on loans such as credit cards, overdrafts, personal loans and mortgages , business loans, and loans from licenced moneylenders and local authorities.
Getting A Credit Report from the Central Credit Register (CCR)
The idea is that lenders will be able to access the information on the CCR to get a more detailed picture of a consumer’s credit history, which will help them to make better decisions about loan applications. (Hopefully avoiding lending to people who might not be able to repay the loan.)
Consumers are able to see what credit information lenders hold about them. Consumers have been able to request their own credit reports from the Central Credit Register since 26th March 2018. Requests by consumers are free and you will have the right to request your own credit report at any time. ( See www.centralcreditregister.ie )
Only a consumer or a lender can request a credit report.
The credit report will show – for each loan in the past 5 years
- Type of loan (credit card, mortgage, overdraft)
- Name of the lender
- Amount of the loan
- Outstanding balance
- Number of overdue payments, if any
- Date of next payment
- Amount of next payment
The Central Credit Register report will not:
- tell you if you can be approved for a loan;
- decide if a loan is approved or not – the lender makes that decision;
- include a credit score or grade.
Errors on a Credit Report
Once you receive your credit report, it’s quite possible that you may spot an error. For example, you may have completed a direct debit form incorrectly and missed a loan repayment due date as a result, or your lender may have granted you a payment holiday on a loan but forgot to show this on their report.
Financial institutions must ensure that the information they hold about you is correct and up to date. You have the right to insist that they correct any incorrect information about you
Irish Credit Bureau
Prior to 2017 – the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) was the main credit reference agency for individuals in Ireland.
It used to cost €6 to do your own credit check – but since early 2018 it is now FREE.
It is pretty easy to get a copy of your credit report from the ICB. You can apply online at www.icb.ie .
You can also telephone the ICB on (01) 2600388 to request an application by post.
The ICB is owned and financed by its members (banks and other financial institutions). Only ICB members provide data to the ICB register.
It is expected that the new CentralCreditRegister.ie will eventually remove the need for the Irish Credit Bureau. For the time being – both registers still operate side by side.
Credit Scores in Ireland
Your Credit Score will sometimes be shown on your ICB credit report. It will only appear if a lender has requested it as part of a credit check about you.
Your Credit Score is based on your credit history at a point in time and will depend on criteria such as how many late repayments you have had, the number of credit cards and bank accounts you hold and the number of applications for credit you have made in the last year.
A high credit score is a positive one. A low credit score is negative.
What is a Good Credit Score in Ireland?
A good credit score in Ireland is a high one. The highest credit score you can get is 581, this means that you are one of the lowest risks to lenders and you are highly likely to repay on time.
The lowest credit score you can get is 224. This is a bad credit score and means that you are one of the highest risks to creditors and you are highly likely to not repay credit on time.
Credit Scores in the UK are different to Ireland.
In the UK there are three credit scoring agencies and each agency scores differently.
- Experian uses a 0-999 point scale (best score 961-999)
- Equifax issues a score within the range of 0-700 (466-700 is ideal)
- Callcredit provides a score of one to five, with five classed as “excellent” credit.