Page 3: The market
Credit for young people often starts when they take out a student loan. Credit, such as personal loans, credit cards or hire purchase agreements, can help smooth out the peaks and troughs of your income. It can help you buy expensive items, such as a car or kitchen equipment, which you would otherwise have to save for. As people settle down they may want to purchase a property. A mortgage is a type of credit that enables them to do this. It is important that consumers manage their finances properly. They do not want a late payment, identity fraud or clerical error to damage their financial status. This might lead to them being refused credit in the future.
What is CreditExpert?
CreditExpert has enabled Experian to target a new market with a new product. Consumers have always been able to apply for their statutory £2 credit report by post by writing to the CRA. More recently they have been able to apply online or by phone and receive this statutory report in the post. But by using CreditExpert consumers can access their credit report online, once they have passed strict authentication and security checks.
Why is a credit report important?
Consumers are wise to monitor their credit history regularly, particularly before they apply for credit. They can ensure that the information held about them is accurate and up-to-date and can check that they have not been targeted by an identity fraudster. For the first time, CreditExpert enables consumers to monitor their creditworthiness online by giving them access to their real-time credit report. They can look at this as often as they like. Looking at their credit report enables a consumer to know what a financial institution will see when it does a credit check in response to an application for credit. CreditExpert also helps its members to understand how a prospective lender is likely to view the information on their credit reports.
Identity fraud is a serious problem in the UK. This may involve somebody applying for credit in another person's name. The consumer magazine Which? has revealed that more than one in four people had been affected by identity fraud or knew somebody who had been.
How does it work?
CreditExpert sends its members a text or e-mail, or both, every time there is a significant change to the information on that individual's credit report. This enables a consumer to verify that a record of a credit check relates to an application they have made for credit. They can also check that any credit accounts opened belong to them and have not been opened by a fraudster using their name and address. CreditExpert members can use a freephone number to get help and advice about the information on their credit report. They get immediate help from Experian's free Victims of Fraud service if they find they have been the subject of identity fraud.