A credit reference is a person's prior borrowing history, used as proof of creditworthiness in a credit application. Credit references are a common component of the credit applications of creditors and lenders. A credit reference can be a simple statement of contact information, which is used to contact an individual or business for a verbal reference; it can also be in the form of a letter, in which someone attests to the creditworthiness of the person or business in question. Credit references are more likely to be used when someone is applying for a substantial amount of credit, so the creditor or lender wants to spend more time exploring every aspect of the person's repayment history.
A more formal version of a credit reference is a credit report, which is compiled by a third party credit reporting agency that specializes in such information, such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.