MoneySavingExpert.com has today launched its brand-new Credit Club – a totally free way to check your credit score, whether you're likely to be accepted for credit in the real world and how to boost your chances.
Your credit acceptability impacts far more than just whether you'll get mortgages, loans or credit cards. It also affects how good a deal you'll get – and over a far wider product spectrum, including gas and electricity, mobiles and even monthly car insurance.
So MSE has now launched its new Credit Club, which will allow you to get your free Experian Credit Score, plus your unique Affordability Score, Credit Hit Rate and tips to boost them – more on which is below.
Commenting on the launch, MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis says: "For years people have asked me 'I've got a perfect credit score, why's my application been rejected?' or 'why won't they tell me why I can't get that mortgage?'
"So following our Cheap Energy Club's success, today I'm excited as we're launching our major new MSE Credit Club, letting you see how lenders might view you and when that changes."
Doesn't a credit score do that anyway?
No. It is a key indicator of your creditworthiness, which is why we give you a free Experian Credit Score. But that's just one piece of the jigsaw. Credit scores exclude crucial information such as income – and even if you've the best credit score, if you can't afford a product, you'll be rejected. The Credit Club includes other metrics such as your Affordability Score and Credit Hit Rate that incorporate these.
The five main Credit Club tools
You also get a free email each month with updates on your scores...
1. Free Experian Credit Score:
Lenders assess your future behaviour based on your past. Your credit score analyses how a typical lender views you based on your payment history, applications, the credit you have and more.
We've gone with Experian as it is the biggest credit reference agency, and it deals with a huge chunk of major lenders.
2. MSE's unique new Affordability Score:
This new measure is something lenders do, but isn't part of any public credit score.
For the first time anywhere (that we know of) we mimic the way lenders check if you can afford a product, by looking at factors such as your income, exposure to debt and estimated expenditure. And we've also specific affordability scores for loans, credit cards and (coming soon) mortgages.
3. Credit Hit Rate in the real world:
Your credit report combined with your affordability dictates likely acceptance. And ultimately that's what really counts.
So after mulling this, we came up with the Credit Hit Rate to show the percentage of a basket of top deals you're likely to get in the real world.
4. Credit Cards & Loans Eligibility Calculator:
Every application you make for a product leaves a mark on your credit report. Yet the only way to know if you'll be accepted is to apply.
Here we break that catch-22 system, by showing product by product, what your odds are of getting each top deal – letting you home in on the best without impacting your creditworthiness.
5. What you need to know about YOUR credit profile:
This is crucial information showing how strong your profile is and where it's weak, which may enable you to improve it.
Of course, we've also tips on how to do that.
This is just the start, there's a lot more to come...
Martin says: "The team and I have been working on this for a long time. There's a lot more we're planning to add, but it's got to the stage where I think there's a vast amount of unique information already, so it'd be wrong to hold it back any further."
Imminent expansion plans include...
A free full credit report. You'll be able to see your Experian Credit Report in detail too, to check line by line.
How your scores have changed over time. A timeline showing how each score has changed to monitor progress.
How you compare with others. This allows you to benchmark how you're doing compared with everyone else. After all, a 72% hit rate may not seem brilliant, but if only 1 in 1,000 people get it, it's pretty good.
Detailed help specific to you. The aim is, we'll analyse your situation and present the right tips, guides, articles and videos on how to improve your file.
Credit Club FAQs
Q. Will signing up affect my credit score? No. It'll record 'soft' searches, so it won't impact your ability to get credit in future. You'll see it on your credit file, but lenders won't be able to act upon it, so it will never impact your creditworthiness.
Q. How long will it take to sign up? It will take you a few minutes. To get registered and access your credit score, we will need some personal details. Don't worry, there's full security as it goes via Experian.
Q. How can you do this for free when others charge? The truth is at first, this is likely to cost us a substantial amount of cash. Yet it's something we believe in. In the long run, we hope when people want to apply for a credit product (if it's right for them), they'll come and use Credit Club to see their chances of acceptance and click through via us, which means we may be paid by the provider.
Q. Is my information secure? We're using security systems far beyond any of our other tools and working with Experian, which has been doing this for years. We share your details with Experian so it can match you with your credit report, and provide you with your Experian Credit Score; and with HD Decisions, which helps us provide your eligibility results and Credit Hit Rate.
Q. It won't accept my details. What do I do? Unfortunately there are instances where Credit Club won't be able to match you with your Experian Credit Report and we won't be able to provide results. We're focused on working to improve this, but in the meantime, it's worth trying the following:
Ensure you've put in correct details on the application form for every section.
Make sure you've entered your full name as used on any existing accounts (eg, Thomas instead of Tom).
Make sure you've put in at least six years' worth of address history.
Ensure your addresses are correct on your bank accounts and that your history is up to date.
Ensure you're on the electoral roll at your address.