Once you have decided that the checking and monitoring of your credit report makes perfect sense to you, your next natural step is to appoint a suitable credit reference agency for your specific requirements and budget.
It is fair to say that the UK credit reference industry is dominated by a ‘big three’ service providers:-
It is highly likely that you might have already heard of at least one if not all of them. Whilst their ranges of services for both businesses and consumers are similar, the ways in which their offerings are packaged differ from agency to agency.
Credit Reference Agency Information
It may be helpful for you sift through their various offerings by taking a snapshot of how any of them might be the service provider you are looking for.
Call Credit are a Leeds based credit reference agency who offer a broad range of pick and mix services relating to the monitoring of your credit report and score and identity fraud and theft prevention. They additionally offer a broad range of sector specific corporate services to a huge variety of business types.
If your main concern is getting a handle on your own finances, both for your own protection and in order to take control of your credit worthiness, Callcredit offers several options that you should look at more closely before deciding which best befits what you want.
With Callcredit you can access your credit report, either on paper or online, for an upfront £2.00 payment.
If you have any associations appearing on your credit report, whether they are addresses or people with whom you are no longer financially associated, Callcredit can remove from you the burden of taking the relevant disassociation action upon yourself and do so on your behalf.
This is Callcredit’s all encompassing package that offers you the opportunity to view your credit file online at any time, including information about your credit score. This is a highly useful reference point to have at your disposal when you are applying for new credit, as it gives you a clear indication of where you might stand in the eyes of your potential lenders.
This package also offers identity fraud and theft services, with emails automatically sent to you detailing any significant changes to the information in your credit file. Their Victims of Fraud services are also included, to help you deal with the immediate aftermath and also provide other credit reference agencies with the necessary updates to your information in light of your misfortune.
Equifax are a market leader specialising in personal, consumer business and corporate credit referencing and they operate in fourteen different countries across Europe and North and South America. In the UK they are head officed in Bradford.
Their packages are presented on a pick and choose basis, allowing you the choice to opt for as little or as much information as you wish from them. For credit report and score checking, their offerings incorporate:-
This service is provided on a one off basis for £14.95 and takes the format of a comprehensive report, not only explaining your credit report and score statuses, but also providing insider hints and tips about you can address issues and improve your overall rating.
Credit Watch Silver
Their silver package, at £3.99 per month, includes the initial credit report that would cost you £14.95 if purchased as a one off, (as above), plus alerts on a weekly basis about any changes that have taken place.
Credit Watch Gold
Their premium gold package, at £7.50 per month, enhances the inclusions of the silver package, with unlimited credit report access and daily rather than weekly alerts about any changes.
Equifax additionally offers a range of similarly tiered services in relation to the early detection of identity fraud and theft:-
Identity Watch Lite
This entry level package in itself is bespoke, as it allows you to opt in or out of certain products, such as your credit report and score and weekly alerts of changes.
The better package, at £3.99 per month, includes the initial credit report that would cost you £14.95 if purchased as a one off, (as above), plus alerts on a weekly basis about any changes that have taken place. It also offers you other related reports at discounted prices.
Identity Watch Pro
The best package, at £7.50 per month, enhances the inclusions of the better package, with unlimited credit report access and daily rather than weekly alerts about any changes. This immediately enables you to spot if criminals are applying for credit under the pretence of being you.
Nottingham based Experian offers a comprehensive CreditExpert plan which pretty much does most things for most people concerned about keeping on top of their credit reports, scores and the potential risks of identity frauds and thefts. They also offer a range of related corporate services.
CreditExpert is a fully inclusive product rather than a range of products on an ‘as you will’ basis. It is worth perusing what it offers in further detail and doing your number crunching before you make your choice. Furthermore, CreditExpert is offered for free for an initial months trial, allowing you the chance to try it out and see how well it fits. Should you then decide to subscribe on a more permanent basis, it costs £14.99 per month. It includes:-
Email or SMS alerts – these are sent to you whenever there any changes to your credit report.
This complementary service, offered by the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System, is a very useful one to have up your sleeve. What it allows to you to do is to register your details if your cards are lost or stolen. Should anyone try to use them, retailers are immediately flagged with a warning.
Their experienced Victims of Fraud team provide the necessary guidance and support if the worst comes to the worst.
CreditExpert additionally cover you with up to £75,000 worth of insurance if you suffer identity fraud or theft. You may, therefore, be entitled to reimbursement you for the likes of postal and telephone charges incurred as part of the resolution process, lost earnings up to £500.00 per week for a maximum six week period and costs for replacement driving licenses and passports.