Thanks to a new free service from Experian, everyone in the UK can now check their credit scores with the three main credit agencies without paying a penny.
What’s the deal?
Experian is the last of the major credit providers to provide free credit information, launching Credit Matcher earlier in September. Anyone can sign up and see how they’ll be viewed by lenders, without committing to paying a £15 monthly fee, which is the fee for ongoing access to your full credit report.
Why should I care?
If you apply for credit in the UK, the chances are your chances of being accepted will largely depend on how you’re viewed by the main credit agencies, Experian, Equifax and CallCredit.
Free access to your credit score means you can get a rough idea of whether you’re a desirable customer. If your score seems lower than you’d expect, or it falls suddenly without explanation, that can be an early warning sign of identity fraud.
What’s the catch?
These services only let you see your credit score, which isn’t as detailed or as useful as your full credit report.
Scores doesn’t show all the granular details held by credit rating agencies, like a history of when you’ve applied for credit, or the signs of whether or not you’ve been going over your credit card limits.
This full information can be accessed for a one-off fee, or through subscription services that cost £15 a month. Given different credit companies use different reports, that means it could cost £45 a month to get a complete picture of how you’ll be seen by lenders.
Experian will cover the costs of this service through credit card advertising.
What are my other options?
ClearScore was the first company to offer free (on-going) access to credit scores, using a similar model to Credit Match, relying on credit card adverts. They’ll provide your credit score, as estimated by Equifax.
Noddle launched shortly after, and gives its users free access to credit score information from ClearScore.
Where can I find out more?
- For Experian CallMatcher: Experian.co.uk/creditmatcher
- For Equifax scores, via Clearscore: ClearScore.com
- For CallCredit scores, via Noddle: Noddle.co.uk