Consumers can now access their credit reports online for only £2 from the three major credit reference agencies.
A deal between the three major reference agencies – Experian, Equifax and Callcredit – and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills means that consumers can now view their credit file online for the nominal fee of £2.
The £2 fee will give you online access to your statutory credit report, which was previously only available by post and could take seven days to arrive.
The statutory credit report, which credit agencies are obligated to provide under the Data Protection Act, provides a basic level of information about your credit status such as late payments and outstanding debts, however it does not contain a “credit score” which is proprietary to the individual credit agencies. Credit agencies will charge additional fees for more detailed information such as your credit score and advice about how you can improve your credit rating.
Consumers have the right to dispute inaccurate information on their credit file, and to have errors corrected. But they cannot get information removed just because they find it distressing.
Many consumer organisation recommend that consumers check their statutory credit reports annually to make sure that information held is both correct and accurate. It can also help detect instances of ID fraud. For example, Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? Chief Executive said:
“This [new service] should provide a quicker and more convenient access for consumers to their credit file, and could encourage more people to check their file more regularly. This is a welcome initiative in the battle against fraud and the elimination of faulty data.”