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What is a Credit Reference?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

A credit reference refers to a party that an individual or business has a financial link to. These links are parties that have firsthand knowledge of a person's or business’ financial history. Credit references are usually documented in personalized files known as credit reports, which are primarily used to determine a person’s creditworthiness.

When a person gets a loan, signs a lease, or applies for something on credit, she can develop a credit reference. This refers to the companies that she owes or once owed. Credit references are generally maintained by credit bureaus and credit agencies. These companies maintain credit reports for individuals and businesses, which note the details of the relationship between the debtor and her credit references.

Credit references are documented in an individual's credit report.
Credit references are documented in an individual's credit report.

The name and contact details of the credit reference are commonly noted. The amount of credit extended and the amount that remains outstanding are often outlined. Additionally, there is usually an indication of how the debtor has fared in making scheduled payments. If, for example, she has stopped paying on a loan, it may be noted that the account has been sent to a collections agency.

When a person seeks further credit, it is likely the creditor will want to check her past credit references. Potential creditors can do this by ordering a credit report. This usually plays a large role in deciding whether or not to issue credit. Both individuals and companies can be subject to the same processes.

If a person wants to analyze her credit references, she can request a credit report from companies that provide them to third parties. Doing so may involve paying a fee. In many cases, however, people are entitled to free credit reports periodically.

Credit is an important part of life for many people. Since the information contained in a credit report can affect a person’s access to credit, it is important for that information to be correct. If a person disagrees with any of the information regarding a credit reference, she can dispute it. The company that issued the report is generally required to try to solve the problem. If it is found that the information is incorrect, a person usually has the right to have it corrected.

Credit references may have an effect on things other than obtaining future credit. These details may determine whether or not a person qualifies for certain employment. It can also affect where a person lives. People with poor credit references are often barred from living in certain places, even when they have the money to pay.

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Discussion Comments


How much does it cost to get a copy of your credit score? I know you can get a credit reference report for free, but I want to know what my actual score is. I was also told the more times your credit references are checked, the worse that looks for you and your score could actually go down.


I can understand why companies are reluctant to loan money to someone who doesn't have a very good credit reference. If I was the one loaning the money, I would want to make sure the person had a good history of paying money back.

I have had to give credit references when renting an apartment. This is really not much different than getting a loan for a car. You are under contract to pay so much money every month for a place to stay, and the landlords want to know they aren't going to have problems getting paid.

Your credit references stay on your record for several years, so I work really hard to make sure I have a good credit history. This makes it a lot easier to get financing and to get a better interest rate.


When my son was trying to get a loan for his car he was not able to get one with a decent interest rate without a co-signer. When they saw his credit references on his credit report they were reluctant to go ahead with the loan.

He went through a few months without having a job and got behind on some of his bills. All of this showed up on his credit report, and the lending agency was reluctant to finance the loan without having some kind of back up.


There are three major companies where you can get a free copy of your credit report from. You can have one free report a year from each of these companies.

I like to stay on top of my credit report to make sure there isn't any unusual activity going on. Since I hear so much about identity theft, this is one way I can make sure my credit cards aren't in the wrong hands.

I order my reports on a rotating basis every four months. This way I get three free reports a year, each one from a different company. It is kind of interesting to see how each of the three companies report everything.

These reports do not give your credit score, but you are least able to see a tracking of all of your activity.

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    • Credit references are documented in an individual's credit report.
      By: alexskopje
      Credit references are documented in an individual's credit report.