Credit is part of everyday life for many consumers
Inaccurate information on credit files is preventing consumers from gaining access to credit, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said.
The ICO is urging people in the UK to check their file so the information accessed by lenders is accurate.
Banks, shops and catalogue companies all use these files to decide whether to offer credit to customers.
Information should be corrected by the organisation that provided it to the credit reference agency.
"Many of us will be relying on credit to get us through 2010," said David Smith, deputy commissioner at the ICO.
"Out of date or wrong information in your credit file might not only stop you getting the credit you need but could have further damaging or embarrassing consequences.
"By checking your credit file regularly you can spot anything that is wrong and act swiftly to correct it."
Individuals have the right, under the Data Protection Act, to look at their credit file. The ICO has produced a new guide that runs through how to access these files.