Maintaining a healthy credit profile is vital to getting the financial products you need. But our research suggests that accessing and understanding your credit report is not as simple as you might expect.
Your credit report is essentially the ‘footprint’ left by your use of credit. The information it contains plays a big part in determining whether or not you can get a mortgage, loan or even a bank account.
Yet despite their importance, 63% of the general public have never checked their credit report.
Ordering your £2 credit report
We asked 81 people to order their £2 statutory reports from each of the three UK credit reference agencies – Callcredit, Equifax and Experian.
If you want to view your Experian report online you’ll have to wait for a passcode to be sent in the post. Both Equifax and Callcredit allow you to view your report online immediately, providing they can verify your identity.
But accessing online credit reports with Callcredit proved virtually impossible. 44 researchers who tried to do so, only two were successful. Callcredit has since told us it had taken down its online system during the time when we were carrying out our research, but this was not made clear on its website.
For some, navigating the reports proved just as challenging as getting hold of them. Less than half of our researchers said seeing their statutory reports had given them a better understanding of their credit worthiness.
The overwhelming majority of people (95%) said they’d find it helpful if all three credit reference agencies used the same format for their statutory credit reports.
Resolving credit report problems
Around a third of our researchers found a problem or entry they disputed on their credit report. In two cases (both Equifax), our researchers were told their issues couldn’t be resolved because they had ordered their reports more than 30 days before.
You can contact the lender or credit reference agency to correct a mistake. Agencies have 28 days from your request to tell you if it has removed the entry, amended it or taken no action.
But Callcredit took 41 days to inform one researcher that it would be removing an incorrect linked address (18 days to request necessary information, and 23 days following that to notify what action it would be taking).
Have you ever requested your £2 credit report? How easy was it to access and understand? And if you’ve ever found a mistake on your report, how did you find the process of getting this corrected?