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Experian offers free credit score for all…but it still costs to view your report

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Experian has launched CreditMatcher offering customers the chance to see their credit scores for free. But how useful is it?

The UK’s largest credit reference agency has today launched CreditMatcher, allowing everyone with a credit history to get their free Experian credit score which is updated every 30 days.

Using the information you provide, it then shows you products that you may be eligible for, such as credit cards and loans, without it leaving a footprint on your report.

Experian said that by making its credit score free for all, it can help people better understand how lenders view their creditworthiness and to ultimately save people money.

Based on average borrowing on credit cards, it added that UK households could save an average of £400 per year by using its new CreditMatcher comparison service and switching to a 0% credit card.

While the new service allows you to view your credit score free of charge, if you want to see your full credit report which shows what’s impacting your score, it costs £14.99 per month (after a free 30-day trial).

What does your credit score mean?

The Experian credit score runs from 0 to 999. The higher your score, the greater the chance you have of getting better credit deals:

  • Excellent: 961 – 999
  • Good: 881 – 960
  • Fair: 721 – 880
  • Poor: 561 – 720
  • Very poor: 0 – 560.

An important point to note is that your Experian credit score may differ from those you obtain from other credit reference agencies such as Noddle, and ClearScore, a credit score and report provider, for instance.

This is because lenders use their own variables and policy rules to build calculations and they have different lending criteria so Experian explained that there will not ever be one score across the different agencies.

How useful is it?

We signed up to see how well it worked. As a previous customer, it needed my address details, mother’s maiden name and my date of birth. Surprisingly, it also asked for my credit card details to verify that I am who I say I am though it confirmed no money would leave my account.

After successfully signing up, I was told my credit score had dropped nine points to 966, just scraping into the excellent credit rating band.

However, frustratingly, that’s all it said – if I wanted to find out why my score had fallen, I’d need to sign up to Experian’s CreditExpert (£14.99 per month) to see what’s impacting my personal score.

Justin Basini, CEO of ClearScore said: “Finally! It’s great to see people can now access their score for free, but disappointing they still have to pay a lot of money each month to view their report and get the detail. You need the detail to actively manage your finances and access the best deals. Without your report you can’t see any errors that may need correcting, for example. At ClearScore we believe everyone should have free access to their report and score forever – after all, it’s your information.”

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