These credit reference agencies are commercial companies which collect data from various different sources such as financial institutions, electoral register and county court judgements. They then are able to compile this information and sell it to loan providers when they are considering entering into a loan agreement.
The main part of this information is your credit (or loan) history, which will include a list of your credit accounts, when they were opened, the loan amount or credit limit and whether you have missed any payments.
Whenever you apply for a loan it is likely that someone will do a credit check on you and request your report. The agencies all record how many times there has been a credit check done on you.
They do not keep, however, any personal information such as religion, political persuasion, medical information or criminal records.
It is advisable to check your credit before applying for a loan so that you can see if there are any mistakes on the credit report. It is also advisable to check your credit report at least once a year as it can be an indicator if anyone has entered false information accidentally or sometimes it can be an early indicator of identity fraud or theft.