Consumers can now get permanently free access to their credit report, which can tell them if they're likely to be accepted for a credit card, loan or mortgage.

Credit reference agency Callcredit, under its Noddle brand, began allowing consumers to view their report today, whenever they like, at no cost. This follows a six-month trial.

This won't give them a complete picture of their credit worthiness as Callcredit is the smallest of the three credit agencies.

Meanwhile, if consumers fail to log-in every three months membership could expire, as Noddle reserves the right to cancel dormant accounts, though users can sign-up again for free again if it does.

The move to free reports follows government pressure, kick-started by intervention from

The two major agencies, Equifax and Experian, both offer free membership trials but charge after 30 days if users fail to cancel. Callcredit offered this service until June this year.

What is a credit report?

Lenders inform credit agencies whether borrowers keep up with payments, alert them when a borrower makes an application for credit and more.

That information creates a report which lenders view when customers apply for credit so they can form an opinion whether they're likely to repay that debt.

However, not all lenders report repayment behaviour to Callcredit and not all search its files, which is why you need to check all three agencies for a complete picture.

The free Noddle membership service will give consumers access to the full credit report it produces. Users will have to pay extra to get a credit score or to be alerted when lenders search their credit file.

These premium services will be one way Noddle funds free reports, as well as launching a voucher service and allowing consumers to apply for financial products via the Noddle site.

MPs have called for free reports

The three major credit agencies all made their reports available online last year for £2, on government orders, in addition to their free trials.

The £2 report is a snapshot on the day you request it, whereas membership services are ongoing so you can log in and out.

The shake-up in the credit report sector followed a damning report by the Treasury Committee in 2009. Part of that report said authorities should consider whether you should be able to search your credit file for free.

The inquiry came after suggested the credit agency sector as an area of consumer detriment to the committee when it was considering topics to debate.