Thinking of signing up to check your credit history with one of the free credit checking services and unsure which to choose?
Well, if you want our advice, we think you should sign up to more than just one. Here’s why:
Does it match up?
One reason to sign up with more than one credit reference agency is to check that the details each has about you match. If you have missed a payment to a lender in the past but have fixed the situation with them, the mark might still show up on the record one or more credit reference agencies keep on your finances.
And it’s not just your credit history that should be uniform across the agencies; your personal details should be too. If you’ve moved, do all the credit reference agencies have your current address? If not, you should get in touch with either your lenders or the agencies directly with your up-to-date details.
Which do lenders use?
Another reason to sign up with more than one credit reference agency is that not every lender uses the same one. There are three credit reference agencies – Callcredit, Equifax and Experian – and lenders in the UK all use different combinations of these.
So, if you’re signed up to Callcredit and your credit history seems accurate, you could be surprised to have an application for credit turned down. However, it may be that the lender you applied to uses Experian to access your credit history, and this agency doesn’t have your most current address.
Both Callcredit and Equifax offer a free credit checking service, so you don’t even have to pay to check your credit history regularly. Noddle is owned by Callcredit, while Equifax offers ClearScore.
These free services both provide you with a simple record of your current borrowing, including the lines of credit you have available to you. This is among the information a lender will look at when deciding whether to accept your application for credit.
The UK’s other credit reference agency, Experian, also recently launched a free credit checking service – CreditMatcher. This provides you with a score out of 999 and a rating (Very Poor to Excellent) rather than a more detailed credit history. However, it also suggests credit card, loan and mortgage deals you’re eligible for.
This added bonus can help you narrow down your search for deals to the ones you’re more likely to be accepted for. In turn, this can help you keep your applications to lenders to a minimum.
So, back to the question posed in the title of this blog – should you sign up with ClearScore or Noddle? Well, based on the information we’ve given you above, we recommend you sign up with both – and CreditMatcher too!
It’s free to sign up with all three, after all, and doing so won’t affect your credit history. You also won’t struggle to sign up to one just because you already have an account with another.
As for how often to check your credit history through these accounts, we suggest always doing so before you apply for credit. That way you can get an up-to-date snapshot of your credit history and take steps to improve it if needs be.
As well as this, we recommend you check your credit history every few months as standard. By doing this you can check whether there are any errors that need to be sorted out and have good time to correct them in.
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