If you're a landlord or employer, it's helpful to run credit reports on your applicants to get an idea of each one's background and commitment to dealing with his obligations. Online services make pulling a credit report a very straightforward process. Keep in mind that to obtain a credit report on another person you need signed authorisation from that person. You cannot legally request a credit history for someone without his consent.
Ask the applicant to fill out and sign a release form that gives you authorisation to pull her credit report (see "Resources" below for an example of a release form). Ask for her National Insurance number, full name, address (current and previous) and phone number.
Choose an online credit check or applicant screening service. Expect to pay anywhere between £9 to £195 per report depending on the service, according to Bankrate. You can also go directly to the three major agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), but it will be more expensive compared to finding a third-party online service, adds Bankrate.
Create an account with the credit check service of your choice. Fill out complete details about your business, including your name, company name, address, phone number and purpose for seeking credit checks.
Create a new credit check request. Enter the person's information from the application that he filled out and pay for the request.
Fax or otherwise send the applicant's signed authorisation and release form to the credit checking service. The service needs a copy of this form to release the consumer's credit report to your company.
Wait for the credit report to be processed. In some cases, the service will deliver the report to you instantly via e-mail or in your browser; in other cases, you might have to wait for a fax. The report will contain pertinent details about the applicant's credit history with account numbers redacted.
If you're pulling a credit report on a prospective renter or similar applicant, consider charging an application fee to cover the cost of the credit report.
Things you need
- Authorisation release form from applicant