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Checking your credit score – how does CreditMatcher match up?
There’s a new free credit history checking service in town – but how does it measure up with what’s already available?
Last week, Experian – one of the UK’s three main credit reference agencies, along with Callcredit and Equifax – unveiled its new credit checking and comparison service, CreditMatcher. And the cost? Completely free.
The other two reference agencies already each have a free credit-checking service – Equifax offers ClearScore and Callcredit is behind Noddle. You can find out how we thought the two compared here.
So, is CreditMatcher offering anything new?
What’s your score?
Well, it turns out that it is. While Noddle and ClearScore each give you a credit score and let you see a record of your financial activity going back over six years or so, CreditMatcher only gives you a credit score. This score is out of 999 and is marked from Very Poor to Excellent.
Keep in mind that this scoring system is unique to CreditMatcher – ClearScore and Noddle each use a different scoring system. And how the lenders you apply to score you will also be different, so you should just use this score as a very rough guide.
You can’t access your full credit history through CreditMatcher, but you can upgrade to CreditExpert. This costs £14.99 a month, but there’s a free 30-day trial.
So, why would you go with CreditMatcher when you can’t see your full credit history? We did say it offered something new, after all.
Check before you apply
What makes CreditMatcher stand apart from its two competitors is that it lets you check deals before you apply for them to see if you’re eligible. Choose the type of credit you’re after – credit cards, loans or mortgages – and the site will then match you to products that suit your current financial situation.
This is useful – when you apply directly to a lender, this is marked on your credit history, even if your application is rejected. If you make several applications for credit close together, a lender can see this and may worry that you’re desperate to borrow.
By checking whether you’ll be accepted before you apply, you can reduce the chance of your credit history being negatively impacted. CreditMatcher will show you how likely it is that you’ll be accepted for the product you’re thinking of applying for – and this search will not be visible to lenders.
Plus, CreditMatcher suggests products for which you’re eligible according to your credit score. Again, this helps narrow down the number of applications you make to lenders – hopefully to one.
Just be aware that ultimately the decision of whether or not you’re accepted for credit lies with the lender. They each have their own criteria and could still reject you, even if a service like CreditMatcher has told you you’re eligible.
Is it worth it?
We think that, as far as checking your credit history goes, ClearScore and Noddle offer a superior service. However, they don’t have the added checking and comparison function that CreditMatcher does.
Our advice is to sign up with all three. That way you have the benefit of free access to a detailed credit history and the option of seeing what deals are out there that suit your needs and for which you’re eligible.
It’s a good idea to check your credit history regularly, and to compare the information each reference agency has on you to make sure it matches. If you notice a mistake, you can find out how to go about correcting it here.
And if you apply for the Ocean Credit Card, you can check if you’re eligible before you apply using QuickCheck.