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Creditexpert.co.uk is a website run by Experian, one of the major credit reference agencies in the UK. If you want to see a copy of your credit file for any reason, then you will need to contact either Experian, Equifax or Call Credit. Each of these credit reference companies collects and maintains details of your credit history from individual finance companies. They have vital details about who you owe money to, how much you owe, and your past history of paying off any debts. You can get a copy of your credit file through any of these agencies by writing and including a £2 cheque or postal order. But it is now quicker and easier to access your Experian credit file through creditexpert.co.uk.
Firstly, you are able to sign up to a free 30 day trial. So there is financial outlay for the first 30 days, enabling you to view and print your credit file as many times as you want within the first month without paying a penny. Now if you're considering this option, I would recommend signing up to the free trial via a cashback site. If you're not a member already or you're unsure what one is, search for reviews of sites such as quidco.com and topcashback.co.uk. I won't explain here how sites such as these work but they do offer an incentive for taking out the free trial at creditexpert.co.uk so you can actually earn money by trying out the service. After the initial 30 day trial period, you can continue your membership for £6.99 per month.
But why get a copy of your credit file? Often people turn to the credit reference agencies after they have been refused credit. Checking your file regularly can mean you spot errors on your file as soon as they occur and corrections can be made quickly. Alternatively, if you're credit history isn't in the best shape, it can be useful to check your file regularly to see how it is progressing and to check that cleared debts are shown as settled on your file.
My credit rating is at rock bottom and I am currently trying to pay off a mini Everest of debt, so I enjoy logging in to check that the debts I have paid off are showing as satisfied. You can also see who has carried out credit searches on your credit file to make sure that you have authorized these searches, and also that companies have only searched once. I applied for a credit card a couple of years ago and found that the company had registered 8 searches on my credit file. This might sound insignificant, but other lenders can see how many searches have been made on your credit file. If lots of credit checks have been made over a small period, alarm bells can start ringing and you may find that you are refused credit through no fault of your own. Another reason to check your file is identity theft. Fortunately, no one has been foolish enough to try and steal my non-creditworthy but if someone were to apply for credit in my name, I would be able to see this on my credit file.
Once you have registered on the website and verified your identity, you will be able to access your personal credit file online. This shows all credit accounts you have on record including personal loans, credit cards, store cards and secured loans such as your mortgage. You will find each individual account listed with your outstanding balance, available credit (if applicable) and details of any missed payments or defaults. These details stay on your credit file for 6 years after the account has been settled.
There is also a section called profile information. Here you will find the details of previous addresses that you gave to Experian when signing up at CreditExpert.co.uk. This area also includes useful addresses where you will find the contact details for all of the companies that appear on your credit report. This means if you have any queries or find any inaccurate information on your report, then you can easily contact the company that made the entry and request they update your file accordingly. There are also sections to access electoral roll information held on you, aliases, financial associations, public record information (eg CCJs), previous searches, linked addresses and more.
The website is very easy to navigate and most areas of it are self-explanatory. If you are struggling though, there is plenty of help available via the help guides and also through clicking on the question mark buttons dotted around the site. This then brings up a brief explanation of that area of the website and how it works.
During the 30 day free trial, and as a paying member, you can access your credit file as many times as you like each month. You can also access you credit score using the website but this costs an additional £5.95 and isn't beneficial in my opinion. I'm sure my score would be very low as I have defaults and CCJs on my file. I don't need to pay out another £5.95 to have the computer confirm this for me. Instead, I'm focusing on clearing my debts as this is the most positive step I personally can take towards improving my credit worthiness.
All in all, CreditExpert.co.uk is a useful site. It is well laid out and quick and easy to navigate and I would definitely recommend accessing your credit file once a year just to confirm the details held about you are correct. An annual membership to the website may be a little excessive though as your credit file is unlikely to change dramatically from one month to the next without you being aware of the changes. I am currently paying for access this month as I have used the free trial membership in the past but I think I will cancel the membership before it is due for renewal and simply sign up again in 6 months to make sure my lenders are updating my report and to give myself the satisfaction of seeing my debts going down!
Also published on Dooyoo under my alterego og kitschkitty.
Great review on Experian. Good luck with reducing your debt. Gary.
Collingwood21 02.09.2008 11:04
It is absolutely worth doing to check your cedit file for mistakes. When I checked mine a couple of months back, I found a mistake dating back to 2006 that might have caused real problems if I had been trying to apply for a mortgage etc.