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1. What affects my getting a loan?

Most lenders look for information about your income, employment, living costs and existing loan repayments to help them decide whether you can afford to repay a loan. Most lenders also want to look at your credit rating. It can be a good indication of how likely you are to pay back the money. You are likely to have a positive credit rating if you have a good history of repayment on previous loans. Your credit rating may be poor if you missed repayments on a regular basis or failed to pay off a loan in the past.

It is also possible that ICB does not have any credit records in relation to you. This occurs if you have no active loans within the past five years or your data has not been registered with ICB by the relevant member.

2. How do lenders know about my previous loans?

Most lenders in Ireland send information about borrowers and their repayments to a central agency, the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB). The ICB holds information about borrowers and their loans for 5 years after the loan is closed. This information is held in an individual credit ‘report’ that is kept by the ICB about each borrower.

Your credit report includes:
your name, date of birth, address(es) used by you in relation to financial transactions
the names of lenders and account numbers of loans you currently hold, or that were active within the last five years;
repayments made or missed for each month on each loan;
the failure to clear off any loan;
loans that were settled for less than you owed; and
legal actions your lender took against you

So, the ICB reflects a full picture of your credit history, good and/or bad.

3. Is my lender allowed to check my credit history?

When you sign a mortgage or loan application you automatically give your lender permission (consent) to send information about your repayments to a credit reference agency such as ICB, and to seek information about your credit history. If your credit history is poor, a lender is very unlikely to give you a loan even if you have the income to repay it.

4. Who makes the Lending Decisions:

ICB DO NOT decide who should get credit, but the information we provide may help the lender to decide. Lending decisions are made by the Financial Institution.

5. What information do lenders send to the ICB?

Lenders send information about borrowers who have mortgages, car loans, personal loans, leasing/hire-purchase agreements and credit cards.

6. Can I get a copy of my credit report?

Under Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003, you are entitled to receive a full copy of any data, which is held in your respect on ICB’s Database.

ICB have a responsibility to keep your reports confidential, therefore ICB cannot discuss any detail of your credit report including it’s contents over the phone until after you have received your credit report.

You must complete an application form to enable ICB to process your request.

You may complete an application online here»
You may download and print the application form here »
You may contact » ICB by phone (01) 2600388 and request a copy be posted to you.
You may enter your name and address here and request » a copy of the form be posted.

Please remember to sign your form as it will not be possible for ICB to process forms without your signature.

One form should be completed per person.

There is a €6.00 fee required per application which can be paid by either Bank Draft or Postal order. This fee must be paid online using your debit or credit card when using the online application form. For credit report applications that are posted to ICB, please remember to include the relevant fee with your application.

7. Can the ICB give me a credit report over the phone?

ICB must ensure your reports are kept confidential. Your credit report (when you receive it) displays a unique reference number that helps ICB confirm your identity.

ICB can only discuss your credit report with you when you can quote the unique reference number from your report i.e. you must have received your credit report first.

8. Processing time for Application forms

Processing time begins from the time ICB receives your application form and this usually takes approximately 3 or 4 working days to process.

Your credit report will be sent to you by post – postage time is not included in the processing time above.

Although ICB endeavours to adhere to the processing times mentioned above, please note that under Data Protection legislation, ICB are allowed up to 40 days to process an application.

9. What if there is a mistake on my report?

Mistakes can and do happen. They may be caused by either you or your lender.

you might make a mistake in completing your direct debit form and miss a loan repayment on the due date;
your lender might have agreed to let you postpone payments for a period, but forgot to change the report it sends to ICB.

By law, financial institutions must ensure that information they hold or give to anyone else about you is correct and up to date. So you have the right to insist that they correct any incorrect information about you.

If you find a mistake in your report, ask your lender to correct these details. Most lenders will act to correct any mistake and amend your credit report immediately. However, if you experience problems or delays, or if your lender fails to put things right for you, you can consider making a formal complaint and referring the matter to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

Please note: ICB cannot change your credit report unless a lender requests it to do so.

10. Can I get bad credit details removed from my report?

All lenders must provide an honest and truthful report of your loan repayment pattern. So a Financial Institution is not obliged to change or remove details from your report unless they are inaccurate.

11. Searching reports in respect of a Company

If (as a Director of a Company) you wish to conduct a search of ICB reports in respect of the Company, please ensure you use the Corporate Enquiry Application form and that the form is signed by two of the Directors or a Director and the Company Secretary. Click here for Corporate Enquiry Application form ».

If you are a sole trader, you will need to complete the Personal Enquiry Application form (linked from Question no. 6).

12. What is a Credit Bureau Score (CBS)?

A CBS is a number which summarises your Credit Report at a particular point in time and may assist faster processing of loan applications by lenders.

13. Will I always have a CBS?

No, not always. The CBS needs to be requested by the lender from ICB. If the lender has not requested it, you will not have a CBS. If the loan(s) has been opened very recently, or there has been no activity on the loan(s) for some time, you will not have a CBS either.

14. How is a CBS used?

When you apply for a loan and you appropriately consent, a lender may request a copy of your credit report from ICB and the corresponding Credit Bureau Score (CBS). The CBS, if requested, will be added to several other elements of information used by lenders to make a loan decision. Typically a higher CBS suggests a better prospect of agreed repayments occurring on time and a lower score suggests a lower prospect.

Please note that your CBS will likely change as your details held by ICB change over time, and therefore different CBS scores may be sent to lenders at different times.

15. May a CBS be of benefit to me?

The use of your CBS by a lender may include the following benefits:
Faster processing of your application: It is quicker for a lender to process a number than a credit report;
Fairer decision-making: A Credit Bureau Score is an objective indicator of risk which does not take into consideration factors such as gender, race, religion or nationality; all loan applications are treated objectively and consistently;
More consistent decision-making: Since a Credit Bureau Score consistently takes into account both positive and negative information present in the Credit Report it has the advantage over a manual decision-making environment where it is possible that some negative information may exercise a disproportionate effect upon the outcome.

16. Does ICB approve or decline my loan application?

No, ICB is not a lender. ICB stores your credit report in its computer system and returns it to a lender when requested. If the lender also requests a CBS then the score is calculated and returned with the report. It is the responsibility of the lender to decide whether or not to approve your loan application.

17. Who designed the CBS systems provided by ICB?

ICB works with the following two expert companies in the development of different CBS:
CRIF Decision Solutions Ltd (part of CRIF Corporation, based in Bologna, Italy; www.crif.com)
FICO (headquartered in San Jose, CA, USA; www.fico.com)
CRIF Decision Solutions Ltd developed the ICB CRIF 3 Score and the ICB CRIF 2 Score.
FICO developed the Global FICO Score (GFS) which is a universal scoring model used throughout the financial world.

18. How is a CBS calculated?

A Credit Bureau Score is based on the contents of your Credit Report at a particular point in time. The designers of a Credit Scoring system, through years of experience, determine which details are best able to predict future ability to repay. These details may include values such as number of previous late payments, number of accounts, number of previous applications for credit in the preceding 12 months, etc. The impact of each element fluctuates based on your own credit profile. A number is assigned to each of the possible values for these details. These numbers are added up to give a single number – your Credit Bureau Score.

19. Where may I find a CBS on my Credit Report?

The Credit Bureau Scores are recorded in the "History of Enquiries" sections of your Credit Report. As you may have relationships with a number of lenders your Credit Report is presented as a series of Account Holder records typically one for each lender. The Credit Bureau Scores are calculated per Account Holder record.

Below is a sample History of Enquiries section:

Sample History of Enquiries Section

This list indicates that the associated Account Holder record was previously returned to four lenders.

Of the three Credit Bureau Scores available from ICB, a lender may obtain one, two, three or none of these scores. In this case the lender "DEF BANK" obtained the ICB CRIF 3 Score and the Global FICO Score; "GHI CARDS GROUP" obtained the ICB CRIF 2 Score; "QRS FINANCE LTD" obtained the Global FICO Score (GFS) only; "XYZ BANKS" did not obtain any Credit Bureau Scores.

20. What is the range of possible values for each CBS?

The range of scores for each CBS is given below.

Score Lowest Score (Highest Risk) Highest Score (Lowest Risk)
ICB CRIF 3* 271 555
ICB CRIF 2* 330 550
Global FICO Score (GFS) 300 850

Not all ICB Members request a CBS from ICB. If a CBS is not present for an enquiry on your report, it is because the Member who made the enquiry did not request a CBS, the loan(s) has been opened very recently, or there has been no activity on the loan(s) for some time.

* Note: A score value of 50 is automatically returned for an Account Holder with an account that is 3 months (or more) in arrears (ICB CRIF 3), or has been 3 months (or more) in arrears during the preceding 3 months (ICB CRIF 2). Profile Indicators such as 'W' (Written Off), 'P' (Pending Litigation), etc. also qualify for a score value of 50.

21. Will a high CBS ensure a successful credit application?

Not necessarily. Even a very high CBS may not ensure a successful credit application in certain circumstances (e.g. borrowing level already considered challenging).

22. Will a low CBS cause an unsuccessful credit application?

Not necessarily. Some lenders specialise in assisting access to credit applicants with difficulties in their Credit Report history. However, the cost of such credit will likely be influenced by the degree of any such difficulty.

23. May a CBS be improved?

Making timely repayments boosts the level of your CBS and is also a remedy to dilute the negative effect on your CBS of previous late repayments. Other good habits to support your CBS are proper debt level management and avoid excessive applications for credit.

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