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I thought I would review a site that I check on a weekly basis, it’s called “Annual Credit Report.co.uk”
With the increase of identity theft on the increase I think it’s a good idea for every single person to check there credit file.
I received an email from Annual Credit Report back in January inviting me to look at my credit file for free!!! Yeah I said for free. As the website suggests it was my annual credit report and the best thing about this site that it is free. The reason I received this email was exactly 12mths before I had viewed my account for free too.
Nowadays we are all sceptical when we are asked to put our personal information in to a website! Are they really what they say, will they abuse my information, or will by mail box be full of spam. Well you can trust your information with this company. Established back in 1999 they have over 10 years of experience when dealing with people’s information.
They claim to be the first in the UK to provide online credit reports to us the consumer.
IN addition to that they currently serve over 1.5 million consumers via their website.
The number of customers alone sells this site for me. What also I love about this site there fully independent and also have been awarded many awards in there industry.
They are fully registered as a Credit Reference agency and a information and databank administrator. They have a licence from the Office of fair trading
First impression of their website is it very basic and has lots of claims and no all that information to back those claims up. The homepage has a map of the Uk and then lots of reasons why you should join the site.
Down the bottom of their website is very interesting in my opinion, it contains lots of useful information on the following:
Top 10 Credit Cards – Independently checked they will break down what is the best card and for what reason.
Latest Data Loss – Who knows when you will be affected, but this site will tell you the latest company to lose data, clicking on the link will take you to the web page within ACR to allow you to read so much more information.
Coverage in the press – another helpful part of this site, it shows you when the press have been writing about CRA’s or anything relating to credit files.
There are so many different options when you’re on the site, along the top you have
Pictures of Annual Credit Report
Annual Credit Report- Register
most of your choices and it’s from here you can become a member (see below), login to your account (see below), read all about the company, read what customers think of the site and how its help them and finally you can read the help section.
There site may be basic but it is easy to understand it all the information one should require is in one place.
Hitting the register now will take you to a page where they will explain the difference between the two options available to you. When I first joined I taken the “free” option.
For the benefit of this review I better confirm this is actually called “Standard” So before you decide to enter your personal information here is what you will get with the free option.
• You will be able to view your credit file as it is today! Means it will not update as your credit file updates weekly/monthly. I call this a screen shot of your credit file.
• It is 100% free for this option, they do not even want a credit or debit card at this time. You will only be asked for this information if you wish to upgrade to the premium option.
• It will show you information such as payment history for past 6 years, electoral roll check, any fraud alerts shown at your address, CCJ’s and insolvency Ok so you’re now ready to join! Just how easy is it?
Possibly the easiest site I have ever used to be honest, click on the standard button and you will be taken to a page which requires your information
• Name – Inc middle names and surname • Date of Birth • Email address – I would only use one that you can access • You then need to put in your current post code and how long you have lived there, once you have completed all that you can then hit fit address. Just by magic your address populates unless you live in a flat which can be problematic. But it’s very easy to overcome just manually enter the address.
Once you’re happy that you have filled all the required details in all you need to do is press confirm details! At this stage you will not have access to your credit file! You will receive a pin number through the post that will give you access, that takes approximately 5 days to arrive.
It’s now a waiting game as you run to check each day if the postman has brought that pin number. Well whilst you wait let me tell you all about the “Premium” option. Firstly if you choose the premium options from the start you will be required to put a debit or credit card number in for the payment. It’s a one off payment which I will go in to more detail shortly.
As well as having the benefits of the standard option you also have the added benefits of:
• Seeing your credit score based on your actual information! Now this numbers varies from 0 which is very poor to 1000 which is the best. I so wish I was there
• Detailed interactive reports on your credit accounts, active graphs show you through the period of the year how your credit has been managed.
• Access to qualified staff via email, I have used this service and I had a response within 24hrs and I have to say it was in words that I could understand, none of this legal jargon. I was mega impressed with this.
• Free access to identity theft centre, should you fall victim of this mindless crime be assured you will have some help available.
• Annual update reminder.
• Shows you based on your information what credit card and current accounts you will most likely be accepted for.
Cost – This cost of the above is a one of payment of £4.97 which in my opinion is fantastic, it gives you really good analysis of your credit file and not only that but you get free assistance from qualified staff if required.
Now that I am a premium member I can upgrade to a monthly customer which means I will see the live updates on my credit accounts that would cost me £3.97 per month on a rolling basis. As I have no issues with my current Credit Report I am happy not to upgrade at this time.
But just so you all know here is a quick comparison:
Experian – Free 30 days – Then £6.99 per month – Plus £5.95 to see Credit Score
Equifax – Free for 30 Days – Then £7.50pm – Plus £14.95 for Credit Score
Call Credit – Free for 30 Days – Then roughly £5 per month – They include the credit score.
remember- for £2 you’re entitled to a paper copy of your credit report from the above companies.
= So as you can see if you compare the prices of Annual Credit report I think they are excellent and with the information they give you it’s the same as many of the others. Cost breakdown at a glance
Standard – Free – NO credit card required
Premium – One off payment of £4.97
Premium with live updates and full credit score - £3.97 per month.
**So what information can you really see?**
I was really shocked with the amount of information that I could see about me, it shows all sorts of information. Once your logged in you can easily select what you would like to see. I clicked on my credit accounts and before my very eyes is the information of some of my credit accounts.
Credit accounts – Shows you full information on credit limits, your current balance, how much credit is available, how many payments you have missed. It also contains full contact details for your creditor and it tells you your worst status. There is a colour graph on the right hand side of the screen which shows you a very detailed account of your payment status, broken down on a month to month basis.
Public Record – This is where your information on your electoral roll is held, it shows if you’re on it or not, it will details your CCJ’s and any insolvency you may have on your account.
Alerts- Something I always check the first time I log in, it potentially shows anything out of the ordinary. However I usually can say oh that’s me and that’s mines etc. For some reasons the alert section shows my accounts I have opened at previous address, I can only assume as these accounts are no longer used it still shows against my previous address.
Matched Credit Cards and Matched Current accounts – Based on your credit report they will show you the best suited accounts to you. They do not guarantee that you will be accepted but do believe you have a better chance of obtain these accounts.
Your credit rating explained- Everyone of use has a credit rating, it ranges from person to person for so many reasons, missed payments, defaults, not on the voters roll and many more. Now this site gives you an easy to understand rating. You’re giving a number out of 1000 – and also a star. Below is a breakdown of how it works
5 Stars – Very Low risk of defaulting 4 Stars – Excellent 3 Stars – Your Mr or Mrs Average 2 Stars – Needs improved – You will have problems getting credit. 1 Star – Very Poor The average is 750
**What if I see an error on my account?**
It is highly likely that you will find an error on your account at some stage and need to get it sorted, whether that is the wrong address, a default that you do know about or a credit account you are not aware of. Now if need something updated then you need to email/write to Call Credit. Yeah I said call credit, they provide Annual Credit Report with this information, but as ACR are not able to update information they will advise you to contact Call Credit.
I have mentioned other Credit Reference agencies in my review; there addresses can be found via Google.
I have to say I would recommend this website whether that is on the free option or the premium option. I truly believe that they provide an excellent service and make it easy for the consumer to have a look at their credit file. The only down fall on this site it does not show you how has searched your credit file, this information is only available direct from the CRA in question.
Annual Credit Report do not bombard you with unsolicited mail whether that is email or personal mail through your door.
CRA - Is Credit Refrence Agency
Thanks for reading and enjoy the screen shots I have taken