Free credit reports for Barclaycard and Tesco Bank customers
Barclaycard customers will be able to access their Experian credit score online from tomorrow, which usually costs £2 for a one off report, or £14.99 a month for ongoing access, though the subscription service includes other features. Mobile access to credit scores is expected to also be available from January via the Barclaycard App.
The bank estimates that almost two-thirds of people in the UK have never checked their credit scores, and most people do so either because they suspect identify fraud or are preparing to take out a mortgage.
Manoj Piplani, managing director of Barclaycard UK, said: “Everyone should take time to manage and understand their credit score – it’s not only an important deciding factor on whether you can get a mortgage, loan or credit card, but can affect your access to a much wider range of products and services including mobile phone contracts, monthly car insurance, bank accounts and more.
Tesco Bank has today launched a similar service, offering free credit reports to its Foundation card customers in partnership with Noddle. In addition to Noddle’s standard service, which costs nothing and can be accessed by anyone, Tesco’s customers will also receive free credit alerts for three years, potentially notifying them of fraudulent applications.
David McCreadie, managing director, Banking at Tesco Bank, said: “It’s particularly important for customers who are looking to access cheaper credit to stay on top of their credit score. We know that very few customers regularly check their credit score and we are delighted that we are now helping our Foundation credit card customers keep an even closer eye on their finances”.
Barclaycard’s offer marks the first time people will be able to access their Experian score for free, other than by signing up for a free trial and cancelling before the £15 a month fee kicks in. Do note it's not the same as the £15 a month version though, as you don't get alerts or some of the more advanced features.
While the Tesco offer is only available for Foundation cardholders, it includes credit alerts as well as the standard report.
If you don’t have a card with Tesco Bank or Barclaycard you can still access your credit report for free via the likes of Noddle and ClearScore.
Your credit score is a three-digit number (ranging from a low of 300 to a high of 850) calculated from the information in your credit report. Your credit score enables lenders to determine how much of a credit risk you are. Basically, a low credit score indicates you present a higher risk of defaulting on your debt obligations than someone with a high score. If you have a low credit score, any products you successfully apply for will carry a higher rate of interest commensurate with this risk.
A report containing detailed information on a person’s credit history, a record of an individual’s (or company’s) past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcy. It also includes all applications a person has made for financial products and whether they were rejected or accepted. Your credit report can be obtained by prospective lenders to determine your creditworthiness.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.