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Take control of your credit rating – for free!

Take control of your credit rating – for free!

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 20/11/2015
First Published: 20/11/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Understanding your credit rating is vital if you want to make a successful credit application, because it's only by knowing your score – and whether there are any areas you need to improve upon – that you can be confident in being accepted. Happily, it's becoming easier than ever for consumers to get a handle on things, and even providers are getting involved.

Free credit checks for customers

Tesco Bank, for example, has announced that it's working with Noddle, a free credit check service, in a move designed to help their credit card customers take greater control of their finances. It allows the bank's Foundation Credit Card customers to receive access to their credit report, as well as alerts every time there's a change to their report and even guidance on how to improve their score, and it's all completely free for three years.

The Foundation Credit Card has been specifically designed to help those with limited credit history build their score and ideally have access to lower rate products in the future, and the credit check link-up will further boost customers' potential. This type of thing is particularly important given that far too few people fully understand their score, and considering how vital this kind of knowledge is, the partnership can only be a good thing.

In even better news, Barclaycard has announced that it's following suit, and is now offering all of its 10.5m customers free access to their Experian CreditExpert. The service is initially being offered online, and from next year customers will be able to access their score via the Barclaycard app, too, giving them the chance to manage their credit rating wherever they are.

The need for credit score info

A customer's credit history plays a crucial role in their ability to access finance, yet despite this, Barclaycard research has found that just 26% of respondents know what their credit score is, and only 39% have checked it in the past. There's clear misunderstanding over what credit scores are and how they're affected, too, yet 30% feel so confident in their credit history that they think they don't need to check it, while 19% don't see the relevance of it.

A further 26% don't want to pay to access their credit score, which is why initiatives such as those from Tesco Bank and Barclaycard are so welcome.

"It's great to see providers encouraging borrowers to be more aware of their credit rating on a regular basis," commented Rachel Springall, finance expert here at Moneyfacts. "Those customers who are looking at taking on big financial commitments, such as applying for a mortgage, will find this a particularly useful feature.

"Credit reports are really handy for consumers to track down any financial ties to them, so they are always worthwhile to check every so often. Card customers just need to be sure they make the most of the offer, but if customers don't have a card with these providers then they can usually still get a limited free trial for a one-off report."

Keeping a close eye on your finances really is key if you want to make a successful credit application, and whether or not you're a customer of Barclaycard or Tesco Bank, it's time to get involved. Start the process by comparing credit check providers to get your free trial underway, and get back control of your credit score.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.