We regularly talk about how important it is to sign up to a credit-checking service, especially if you’re planning to apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage.
CreditMatcher is Experian’s free credit checking and credit matching service. And yes, it’s completely free to sign up.
You’ll be given a credit score out of 999, which is marked on a scale from ‘very poor’ to ‘excellent’.
But while this score can be a useful guide to how positive or negative your credit history is, it’s not something that lenders see.
Don’t worry if this all sounds a little confusing. We’ll explain what lenders look at when you apply for credit.
Does my score matter?
It might surprise you to hear that universal credit scores don’t actually exist. Each credit-checking agency has its own scoring system. So your credit score on CreditMatcher won’t be the same as your score on Noddle or ClearScore.
This is why it’s important to focus on your credit history. This is what lenders will look at when you apply to them for credit. They want to know that you’re a responsible borrower and looking at your credit history is one way to determine this.
But while services like Noddle and ClearScore let you delve into your credit history, CreditMatcher will only give you a credit score. You’ll have to upgrade to the fee-paying service to access your full credit history.
Check your credit history
While you can’t see your credit history using CreditMatcher, we think it’s a good idea to sign up to one of the services that does let you see it.
If you’ve previously missed any payments or defaulted on your accounts, your credit history will show this. Lenders can actually see details of your borrowing history going back over the last six years or so.
Your credit history will be one of the deciding factors on whether your application is successful. If lenders view you as a ‘risk’ – maybe you’ve missed payments before – this can affect the interest rate and credit limit (if it’s a credit card) you’ll be accepted for.
As well as your borrowing behaviour, your credit history also includes personal information like previous addresses and whether or not you’re on the electoral roll. You should check all these details are up to date and that the information the credit-checking agency holds about you is correct.
So if you can’t see your credit history when you use CreditMatcher, is it still worth signing up? We say yes, and we’ll explain why here.
Is it worth signing up?
CreditMatcher offers a matching service. You can see which products you’re likely to be accepted for without leaving a footprint on your credit history that lenders can see.
When you apply for credit, it leaves a mark – known as a hard footprint – that lenders can see. They will be able to see your credit applications and whether they’ve been rejected. If you’ve applied for a number of products within a short space of time, lenders may conclude that you’re desperate for the money and reject your application.
With CreditMatcher, you can compare a variety of credit cards, loans and mortgage deals it believes you’re eligible for based on the credit score it gives you. This gives you a better chance of knowing if you’ll be accepted before you apply, so you don’t have to worry about your credit history being negatively affected.
Keep in mind that this soft search function doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be accepted. Ultimately, that’s up to the lender, who will make a decision based on their own criteria. However, it gives you more of an idea than if you just apply for the first deal you see.
For tips on how to keep your credit history in the best shape, check out our previous blog.
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