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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.

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

Thank you for the answer, fills me with hope.

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

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

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.

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 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 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!

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.

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.

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.

ShadeMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Nov-12 11:16:33

Thank you for all your questions. We will forward these on to Caroline and post here once her answers are back.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 05-Nov-12 10:36:41

Why would an HR department check candidates? And does that go on all their files as a 'black mark'?

skyebluesapphire Sun 04-Nov-12 23:52:37

Im currently divorcing my husband, and wonder if his credit rating will affect mine in the future? Obviously he has his own address now, but he will now have had 3 addresses in 12 months. He has business debts. I need to know that if they search under this address for his credit, that it wont affect my credit rating.

NatashaBee Sun 04-Nov-12 20:37:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EasyFromNowOn Sun 04-Nov-12 19:45:51

notcitrus you can access a copy of your credit file for £2 from each of the three agencies, it is a statutory requirement. The Experian link is here

Equifax and CallCredit will also have links on their sites, search for £2 Statutory Report, if you can't immediately see it. These are one-off reports with no ongoing subscription.

EIizaDay Sun 04-Nov-12 15:52:03

I work in an HR dept and we regularly check candidates with experian. I wanted to check my own record and was told that if I did so it would be a black mark against me.

I assume this is incorrectg however I'd like to hear what you say about this rumour. Thank you.

soundevenfruity Sun 04-Nov-12 10:41:07

Why does any application lowers your credit score? Considering that there are more and more services that do credit searches including utility, phone companies, morgage deals etc. Why do I need to ask them to do a quote search instead it being a default setting?

Hi Caroline

I had my identity stolen in 2001. I found out in 2008, after applying for a credit card. I have never had any form of credit at all. It took ages but finally was all sorted and a note was placed on my credit file.

However, I have still been unable to apply successfully for any form of credit, mobile phone, cards anything. I have been with my bank (Nat West) for over ten years and started with a junior account at that time, in April this year they changed the rules on these accounts that I can only use their cash points. So, I asked to upgrade, as did my DP. They turned me down flat due to my being a high risk. I asked if that was to do with my ID being stolen and was told yes.

Are banks and other agencies allowed to act this way to a customer? I moved from a shared house and the next person in nicked my name, got the wrong middle name and date of birth but still got allsorts of credit in this name, I was only 19 when this occurred so didn't know about change of address forms from the Post Office. I'm now 30 and feel victimised, actually, as if I wanted my identity to be stolen!

artifarti Sat 03-Nov-12 13:41:38

I tried to get a new mobile phone, on contract, last week at Carphone Warehouse but my credit check was refused and they suggested I look at Experian; I did this and found that my score was 999, Excellent, as I thought it would be. So why would I be refused on this basis? I haven't had a loan or used a credit card in the last six years - is it true that this puts some companies off? Also, will the fact that CW refused me (for no apparent reason) now make my credit report worse? Thanks.

TwoIfBySea Fri 02-Nov-12 22:40:35

My exh left over 5 years ago. Thanks to his debt being linked to mine I'll never have a good credit rating again. So what is the point when I have never been tardy in payments or had a credit card or taken out a loan yet I can be held financially to ransom by an exh?

Credit ratings are just another way of sticking it to people who try their best.

(Oh and I did all the "financially distancing" thing or whatever it is called, I have notes on my credit rating thing but it doesn't matter because it is all controlled by machine and when the computer says no there are no humans able to think for themselves.)

exexpat Fri 02-Nov-12 17:45:37

I second what MmeLindor said - as an adult in my late 30s I returned to the UK after more than a decade overseas, with bank accounts (international banks) in good standing in the UK and overseas, and substantial assets, but was unable to get a credit card for three years and was turned down for a £10/month phone contract, because the 'computer says no'.

Surely there must be some way of exchanging credit information between international financial institutions in the 21st century?

VintageRainBoots Fri 02-Nov-12 05:23:48

We're American expats with perfect credit in the US. Experian is one of the big credit reporting agencies in the US and in the UK. Why can't our perfect US credit reports be transferred to the UK?

SoldierKatnissEverdeen Thu 01-Nov-12 21:20:11

Hi Caroline.

I would appreciate some advice on the following:

My exp and I split 2.5yrs ago. We co-own a house together which I live in and pay the mortgage on. He has now moved to another country but has not notified any of the relevant people that he no longer lives here. In the past I have had bailiffs looking for him for non payment of car tax etc.

Following his recent holiday back in the UK, bailiff letters and telephone calls have started, from companies looking for him due to non payment. Things like his old mobile service provider, credit card company, bank etc.

There is no point talking to him about any of this, he was abusive, I stopped contact between him and dd, he doesn't pay maintenance, mortgage, any related costs etc.

But I am worried about the affect all this may have on my credit rating. I have at times not eaten in order to pay bills and keep my record clear. And I feel that he is just going to wreck it without any thought. I have contacted some of the companies to say he no longer lives here but that can be fraught with wanting his new address which I don' t have and asking for him to write a letter stating that he no longer lives here.

Even if all the companies accepted my word over the telephone, will the fact that we have a mortgage together connect our credit ratings and make mine look terrible? Is there anything I can do to protect my credit rating?

Sorry for the long ramble, hope it all makes sense.

maybenow Thu 01-Nov-12 14:40:57

I have always had a 'perfect' credit file. For a series of various reasons mainly due to my irregular (but healthy) freelance income I don't have any household utilities paid from my account - they all go from my husband's. I have a credit card which i pay off in full every month, and a mobile phone but that's it. Is this going to be affecting my credit rating?

DH and I are happy managing our money the way we do but we could if necessary open a joint account and move all the bill dds to that - would that help my credit rating?

noidles Thu 01-Nov-12 12:29:34

StrawberrytallCAKE WOW! That's amazing. Thanks so much for your help.

Would be good to know from Experian though what else I can do specifically to help me with my quest to get a mortgage.

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