In this brief blog, we will answer the question “ how long does a credit check take“. You may want to know this if you are applying for a mortgage or loan.

How long a credit check may take will really depend on how it is done and who is doing the credit check. Most credit providers have automatic systems which can run a credit check on you in less than 5 seconds. This is done when you make a credit application such as a mortgage application, a credit card application, a car finance application or an application for a personal loan.

When you make an application to get a new flat the landlord may also run a credit check on you but this check is usually not automatic. This is because the landlord may be conducting the credit check by sending a signed letter off to the credit bureau. New systems are now being developed to allow landlords to conduct faster credit checks through online systems.

If you are the one conducting the credit check then a credit check may be relatively faster. You will simply need to sign up to any of the four credit bureaus in the UK and gain a copy of your credit report. Some of these credit bureaus may charge you to perform a credit check.

If this is the case then you can get a statutory credit check which can take a few days if done via post or a few seconds if done online. A statutory check is a free credit check you are entitled to annually from each credit bureau in the UK.

How long does a credit check take?

A credit check can take as little as 5 seconds. For a credit check to occur the person or entity doing the credit check simply needs your full name, your date of birth, your current address and your past address.

Once the person has put this data into the systems provided by the credit bureau they may then be required to pass some validation checks to ensure the data is being given to someone who has consented to view the data.

The credit report will then be generated from the credit check in as little as 1 minute.

You can get a credit check done through any of the credit bureaus, these are Crediva, Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

You may also be able to get a credit check done trough companies such as clearscore or checkmyfile.

What do you see when you run a credit check?

When you run  a credit check you will be able to see the below information:

Your full name and date of birth

Electoral roll information to confirm your current and previous addresses

All loans, credit card and mortgage accounts that are open, their start date and loan amounts. All accounts closed in the last six years will be listed.

Current account overdraft

Previous application searches and footprints

Joint accounts with other people e.g spouses

Any missed repayments and number of times it has happened

History of debt including bankruptcy and CCJs

Information on whether your identity has been used for fraud

Who can see a credit check?

Once a credit check is made you can see it on your credit file but not all searches are visible to everyone.

There are two main types of credit checks:

A soft credit check

A hard credit check

A soft credit checks when there is no public footprint left on your credit report. These checks are usually used when a user is being given an indication on whether they will be eligible for a particular credit product such as a credit card. You will hear this kind of check typically referred to as an eligibility checker. A soft credit check only displays little information to the person searching.

A hard credit check is a public check and other people who view your credit file automatically or manually can see these checks. These checks give the user access to every data point on your credit file. A hard credit check is almost always done before a lender approves you for credit.

In this brief blog post we answered the question “ how long does a credit check take?  “

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.