This is a typical situation. Peter arrives in Ireland from another country. He wants to get established, including opening a bank account, and access credit. With few local contacts and very limited knowledge, Peter goes online to research his options. After about 10 minutes of online searches, Peter has written himself off. He’s convinced himself that his credit score is ruined and his options to access credit are at a dead-end.
The problem of course is that the information Peter accessed may be relevant somewhere, except not here in Ireland.
How credit reports work
In this case (which is based on a recent conversation), Peter was 5 days late paying his electricity bill. Because of this, Peter became concerned that his credit score would be negatively impacted. As is often the case, people check online and often, information they read is not relevant here in Ireland.
In other markets, having any late payments, including in some cases it seems, late payments on utility bills negatively impacts personal credit scores.
Ireland has one credit reporting system. It’s called the Consumer Credit Report (CCR). It tracks a lot of formal credit agreement information. This includes mortgages, personal loans, credit card payments and PCP arrangements. It does not track the payment of utility bills.
On another matter, the CCR does not apply a credit score. A credit score is a prediction of credit behaviour, such as how likely a person is to pay a loan back on time, based on information from their credit report. It may seem a somewhat trivial point, and perhaps it is but for those that don’t know otherwise, it can also cause alarm.
But back to the original concern around the reporting of utility bills. Those are not included in the vast amount of data that is reported into the CCR.