Having the right kind of information is necessary in controlling your finances. A credit report, for instance, helps you improve on your performance as a credit holder which is why it would be necessary that you have access to it whenever you have the need for it.
But a credit report is like a book made in a language foreign to you. It’s one thing to have access to the information it possesses. But to actually understand and process that information? That is an entirely different thing.
Experian have a paid subscription service called CreditExpert which gives you what you need to know so you can act on it quickly. Sure they have a free service like the other free services out there which give you your credit score but here we are talking about actually having access to your credit report – Two very different things.
This is why picking the right credit reference agency to prepare your report will be important. Among the three operating in Britain right now, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, it’s best that we look into the services offered by Experian. Don’t worry about the other two, though. They’ll have their turn soon enough. By the way there is no best provider – see our other article ‘Who is the best credit provider’.
Is there any sense to choose Experian as your subscription-based credit reference agency provider? The answer is always yes but it’s best to understand the basics first.
The process of which your credit report is made differs from one agency to another. However, what is certain is that all agencies share the same methodology when gathering information.
For starters, every business that can offer credit-based transactions with you are obligated to report your activities with them to these agencies. This includes every loan, every mortgage, every payment you made on time or missed, and every enquiry they did on your account. Aside from credit-offering businesses, there are also other groups that report to credit agencies such as utility companies, gyms, health clubs, and every other business that offers subscription-based services.
Another source are public records. Although a criminal record is not exactly going to hurt your credit score, some agencies might still put that into your record as a notice especially if the incident involves finances and debt.
One thing you have to understand that these credit reference agencies have their own ways of processing information and normally don’t share data with each other. This is why you might get a different credit score from one agency to the next.
In most cases, no. When you order a credit report, you are charged with a processing fee. After all, it takes effort to collect, compile, and process every bit of information regarding your credit activities for the last few months and that could take several working days. However, under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 every credit holder is entitled by law to have access to their statutory credit report which provides a snapshot at that time. Don’t worry, though, as credit reports rarely go beyond the £2 mark per request.
One thing that could be said about credit reports is that most of them don’t go beyond telling you of your score and your recent credit transactions. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. That is to be expected for any credit report but it would be better if you can also find ways to improve on it.
This is what Experian aims to address; at least in theory. Experian’s credit report is as detailed as the rest (and might even get more detailed in some areas) but the credit reference agency aims to guide it’s clients to not only understand that information but also improve as credit holders..
For instance, your last credit score on the report made by Experian is 600. The company is not content with just giving you your score and then leaving you dumbfounded as to how you got it in the first place. They will explain how your score was tabulated and what you could do to make it better.
So think of Experian as your overly caring school teacher. Whether you passed or flunked in the last school exam, you can always be certain that they will be there to help you get better with your performance. If you might heed Experian’s advice, your credit score might just improve but you’d also develop better financial habits.
Much of Experian’s effectiveness lies in the algorithm it uses for its credit report. The service continuously monitors your report and alerts you of certain changes and potential fraudulent activity. Basically, Experian’s program picks out the most pertinent of information regarding your credit transactions to help you make more informed financial decisions.
Aside from teaching you to be a better credit holder, Experian’s credit report does have certain advantages over reports made by the other agencies.
Experian’s algorithms can somehow differentiate which transactions were made by you and which were made by someone posing as you. Experian’s algorithms actually take into account “patterns” in your payment activity by studying the kinds of credit you apply for as well as your spending range. Once it establishes a pattern in your credit history, it will then isolate entries that are seemingly out of place.
For instance, you might be a credit holder who tends to use your credit card for purchases of no more than £2,000. If one entry in your statement notes that you have maxed out your credit limit through one big purchase or in a short span of time, Experian would not immediately include that entry into your final report.
Instead, they’d alert you of such an entry and confirm whether or not you made that transaction. This will really help in striking out fraudulent transactions in your history or, at the least, disputing them when you take your case to court. In case one of your channels or information was compromised, Experian aims to assist you in freezing that credit card while also working with authorities to ensure that the thief gets identified as soon as possible.
In relation to this, Experian also reports where your name, or telephone number or both have appeared on the internet which will help to protect your identity.
The one problem about requesting your credit report is that, more often than not, credit agencies would consider this as a hard search. Keep in mind that your credit score is comprised of several aspects, the smallest but still influential of these would be the number of searches made on your account.
So, for example, you apply for credit at a company. That company would then pull up your file to see if you qualify for the credit which counts as a hard search. A few days later, you apply for another type of credit at another company. The company does the same which counts as another hard search.
Now, hard searches rarely cause drops in credit score but only if they are done sparingly. Multiple hard searches done within a certain period of time can cause that score to gradually drop.
Experian, however, promises that any hard search done on your file will not count in computing your next credit score. So as long as you yourself are doing the search, that search won’t be counted as a hard search to your credit history.
A credit application can be rejected for a number of reasons. One of these is that you have a low credit score which tells a creditor that you are a high-risk credit holder. Now, it’s easy to see why you got rejected through your score but it would be better if you actually knew for what reason you actually rejected with.
Experian lays out in your report the factors which could negatively affect any credit application you might do in the future. This way, you can at least get an idea where to improve for the next report.
Aside from the features and advantages you can expect to enjoy with Experian’s services, there are also some other things to consider before you fully decide to subscribe to an agencies subscription service.
The real question you are asking here is if Experian’s report is the one and only report that you and your creditors are going to need for any transaction. The answer is no.
As far as lenders are concerned, they will use a credit reference agency report in conjunction with other supporting information not available to the public just to determine if you are qualified for credit.
On the plus point, Experian are one of the biggest agencies. A good chance then lenders would check your Experian credit file.
Like any credit reporting agency operating in this day and age, Experian does offer services catered towards clients with mobile devices. This means that, in theory, you should be able to request for a credit report on your phone and view it on the same.
However, here’s a bit of a warning: Experian’s mobile app, though dependable, is far from perfect. There are reports that services on mobile tends to fluctuate in quality from time to time. Users have reported that their transactions through the app were suddenly interrupted for no reason.
All of these issues are exceptions to the rule rather than the norm. However, it does get annoying if you are unlucky enough to encounter more than one glitch every time you log in through your mobile device.
So what if you subscribed to Experian and suddenly decide that you are not going to continue availing of their service? Fortunately, Experian does allow for cancellations provided that they follow some guidelines.
First, you can have your subscription canceled without having to state any reason why within 14 days after signing the contract. Any cancellation after that period and you would have to explain your reasons for your cancellation.
If you do make your cancellation within that 14 day period, you are entitled to a refund of any amount you have already paid to the agency. However, refunds are not available if a third party company will pay for the agency’s services or you availed of the service under a free trial.
To exercise this right to cancel, you must contact Experian at the address given to you in your contract, stating your intention to cancel and the reason/s why. There’s a format provided to you at the website but you don’t have to follow it. Experian even never made that mandatory for clients.
So what should you look for in your credit report? How you comprehend the information given to you depends on you, really. However, to really make the most out of your report, you need to know what is contained in it.
1. Your Score – This will be the first thing that gets your attention as it basically summarises your entire credit history into a figure between 0 to 1000. There is also a little summary at the side that tells you what factors greatly impacted your current score.
2. Available Credit Providers – All of the accounts you have currently opened will be listed here. However, your list of payments made to these providers are not included here as they will be listed somewhere else instead.
3. Consumer Credit Enquiries – This lists down every credit application you have made. It won’t tell whether or not you were successful in your application but it does give you a good idea how many hard searches were done on your credit account.
4. Credit Accounts and Payments Defaulted – This basically established your payment history for the past 2 years. Every payment you have made and every debt you have settled will be reported by the provider to Experian which will then be reflected here. Every account you have settled will be marked by a green check sign while your defaulted payments will be counted. However, if you have more than 7 defaulted payments for that month, only the first 7 will be shown.
5. Remaining Balances – In relation to your defaulted payments, every balance you have yet to settle will be marked here. Also, the current status of these balances will be included here with paid debts being marked with an S (Settled) or a P(Paid).
6. Derogatory Remarks – In this section, credit providers will list down any instance where they believed that:
Just keep in mind that all of these are just allegations. You may have been acting in a way that providers would find you suspicious when you applied for a credit. Either way, this section can be quickly countered by information in the same report showing that you are a trustworthy credit holder.
7. Commercial Credit History – This part of the Experian credit report will list down every financial relationship you have. That includes businesses you have transacted with, every credit associate you have opened a joint account with or are a guarantor to, and other organizations you have made traded credit with.
So, is Experian a good choice for a credit reporting agency? The answer is yes.
The real question here is how do you feel if the worst happened in regards to your credit profile, cards stolen, identify fraud – Could you handle it? Do you have the time to deal with it? Can you bear sitting for hours on end on those mysterious call centres hoping you have been put through to someone you can understand when trying to mop up the mess?
Then considering Experian’s CreditExpert subscription service may well be a perfectly valuable service giving you the leading edge profile intelligence you need. You can view our Experian page for more information at https://creditscoreonline.co.uk/experian/
If you have subscribed to Experian beforehand, or know of several other ways to make the most out of the credit report they give to card holders, let us know in the comments section down below.