You have a statutory right to check your credit rating with the credit-reference agencies
Everyone who uses credit in any form has a credit rating that is generated by credit-rating agencies from information received from shops and service providers. In the UK, everyone has the right to what is called a “£2 Statutory Credit Report” from the credit-reference companies. This right also probably exists in the USA. In short, you only need to pay £2 to check your credit rating.
Running a check is a very good idea because these companies can be fed with false information that lowers your credit rating and, if your identity is stolen, any thief will no doubt be using your identity to do things that lower your credit rating at the very least or even destroy it completely.
However, if you visit the websites of any if these credit-reference companies in order to find out what your credit rating is with them, they don’t tell you about that cheap statutory right, they only let you know about a free credit report that is tied to a “30-Day Free Trial” of their services. You can cancel the free trial any time during the 30 days, but have to sign up for it by providing a method of payment that becomes active if you don’t cancel it before the deadline.
In other words, if you don’t cancel the free trial after the 30-day deadline, which many people will fail to do, of course, and they are all counting on that, you have joined the service and are charged a monthly fee of around £15 a month. Therefore, if you forget to cancel, you will be charged a minimum of one month’s membership.
From property to pets, what data does Experian collect about you?
Beware of free credit score checks
There are companies that advertise free credit score checks. Some of them say, for life. Unfortunately there is nothing free in this kind of business. How do you think that they make money? – Right – by obtaining your personal affairs and financial information from (you fill in a form). Then they sell it, probably to anyone willing to pay for it, including the credit reference companies that only have the information about you returned from companies and businesses that you deal with. They have no idea about what your household circumstances are – how many people you live with – partner, husband/wife, children, etc. – how much you and your partner earn per annum, etc. The only way you can find out what is being done with your personal and financial information is to read their privacy policies, which are liable to change quite often. How many people read those privacy policies that you have to agree to before you are accepted for free checks? Hardly anyone.
Using the Experian credit-reference company as an example
Experian is the largest credit-reference company operating in the UK. It also operates in the USA. Here is the link that goes to the page on its UK website that provides the “£2 Statutory Credit Check”, which applies to all of these credit-reference companies.
Quotes: “You can apply for your statutory credit report either online or by post. When you complete your application form, we recommend that you tell us all your previous addresses from the past 6 years (including postcodes), when you apply. This will ensure that you see all the information on your credit report, which a lender would see if you were to apply for credit.”
“A monthly fee of £14.99 applies after your free trial. You may cancel during your 30 day free trial without charge. New customers only. Free trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access full service which may take up to 5 days. Previous customers will be debited £14.99 today, and every 30 days thereafter unless you choose to cancel.”