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Q&A about credit ratings with Caroline Thomas from Experian CreditExpert

(35 Posts)
ShadeMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 29-Oct-12 12:47:19

This week Caroline Thomas from Experian CreditExpert is returning to Mumsnet to answer your questions on credit ratings.

If you want to know what affects your credit rating and how you can improve it, advice on identity fraud or tips on how to manage your credit report to improve your chances of getting accepted for the best deals, send your questions to Caroline before the end of Monday 5 November and we'll be linking to her answers from this thread on Tuesday 13 November.

Your credit rating is not just for loans, mortgages or credit cards. Phone contracts, landlords and other providers will base decisions on it. Your credit report therefore shouldn't be something you turn to only when you're declined for a credit card or loan, it should be something you manage on an on-going basis, as part of good financial housekeeping. And with just eight weeks until Christmas, you may not be able to make sweeping changes to your credit rating, but there are some simple things you can do in that time to make it as high as possible.

New customers can sign up now for a *free 30-day trial of CreditExpert, giving you unlimited access to your Experian Credit Score, weekly alerts of changes to your credit report, web monitoring alerts and access to their customer services team. You can also get more tips at

*New members only. Monthly fee applies after free trial. Free trial period starts on registration - further ID verification may be required to access full service, which may take up to five days.

notcitrus Mon 05-Nov-12 19:25:00

Thanks Easy. May actually make use of that.
Though it implies you don't get to see the credit score they calculate, without signing up for the ongoing thing.

EasyFromNowOn Tue 06-Nov-12 11:49:23

You don't notcitrus, but the credit score is a waste of time and your money. Each of the three agencies calculates their own, which can all be different as not every business reports to all three agencies. In addition, the credit score is not used by companies in deciding if you can have credit with them or not - the agencies don't report it to them, it is only sold to consumers.
What the agencies report depends on what the company in question asks for when they do a credit check but boils down to whether or not you have a credit record which corresponds with the details (name, address dob etc) provided, and do you have any defaults associated with your details. The agency do not say yes or no to credit, the company receiving the information decides if you meet their risk criteria.

EIizaDay Tue 06-Nov-12 13:36:38

Alibaba - I know! It's outrageous. It's one of these things that I'm waiting for someone (hopefully) to take the the European Court of Human Rights, along with random drug testing. Don't agree with it at all, but there we go.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 06-Nov-12 13:47:55

I am pretty shocked by that actually. Do you run the check only if you plan to offer them the job, or does it come earlier in the process?

DH has changed jobs several times over the last few years, and now works freelance. If everywhere that has invited him to interview has run a credit check, then our file will be absolutely peppered with them!

EasyFromNowOn Tue 06-Nov-12 20:49:17

Ali The company I used to work for ran these checks on prospective employees, but they were not recorded as a credit application, so would not affect potential credit worthiness. We used it as a way to confirm identity/personal details, and the checks were recorded differently on the file, although I can't remember as exactly what now. I do remember it was the same category of check that the building society did at the start of our mortgage application, before it went to a full credit check, because I remember seeing it on my file. I would expect other companies would do the same thing.

There is a difference with financial institutions, but you should be told that you will be credit screened as part of the application process.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 06-Nov-12 21:13:00

Ok, thanks for clarifying. Well nowhere has ever said it is going to credit screen/check so perhaps it is only some places that do it.

Seems a bizarre and nosy thing to do!

EasyFromNowOn Tue 06-Nov-12 22:40:23

In my experience it is only financial institutions which actually credit check, because obviously it is relevant. I know my dad, who was a commercial bank manager used to get rechecked on a regular basis, because he made me stop having any post sent to their house when I was a student and in loads of debt because it got picked up on one of his checks!

It's not really nosy because employers want to know that the person they are considering employing is who they say they are, and identity checks are one of the products offered by the CRAs. We only used to perform the ID checks on people selected for interview, so not everyone who applied. If it came back as a match, ie there was a record of them which matched the details given, then they would go forward to interview. If it did not come back as a match we would go back to confirm details and ask if there was a reason why we did not get a match. Whether they got an interview or not would depend on the answer we got.

We did also have a statement on all applications forms that we may use an external company to confirm the details provided by the applicant. I don't know if this was a requirement or not, because that part of it wasn't my job, I was just dealing with integrating the software, and writing the manuals.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 15-Nov-12 08:41:55

Caroline's answers are now back and you can read the full Q&A here

Q&A about credit ratings with Caroline Thomas

skyebluesapphire Thu 15-Nov-12 13:01:25

Thanks, have just filed a form to disassociate myself from my ex husband, thanks to the advice given

orangefan Thu 15-Nov-12 22:46:57

Thank you for the answer, fills me with hope.

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