In the UK, your credit files are held by three credit referencing agencies. These are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Call Credit).
Your credit file and associated credit score will be accessed when you make an application for loans. Lenders use credit scores during their decision-making process.
Some lenders work with one credit reference agency. Yet other lenders check scores with two, or even all three. Thus each agency might give you a different score, based on their own criteria.
Sometimes, which agency is used will determine whether your loan application is approved.
Introduction to TransUnion (Formerly CallCredit)
The UK’s newest credit referencing agency, CallCredit began in 2000.
In contrast, Equifax was founded in 1899 (but has provided services in the UK since the 1970s). Experian began in 1996.
Today, CallCredit provides a wide range of information and data. It holds details about your financial history debts and transactions. This data is then used by lenders. As a result, it builds up a picture of you as a borrower.
Your past credit applications, quote applications, and debts are all listed within your credit file. CallCredit makes this information available to companies that request it, with your permission.
Also, the agency provides you with a credit score, which is a three-digit number that can be used to quickly assess your creditworthiness.
Lenders that use TransUnion
Banks and building societies that currently use TransUnion include:
- and the Skipton Building Society.
Furthermore, lenders using CallCredit currently include QuickQuid , Zopa, and RateSetter.
Many online lenders offering quick loans use TransUnion.
Checking your CallCredit file
Accessing and reviewing your own credit file can help you to spot mistakes.
A mistake on your file could affect your ability to get credit. As such any inaccuracies should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Understanding the state of your credit file can also help you to predict how lenders will approach your application.
Noddle was TransUnion’s free service, providing access to your credit report and score. It was bought by CreditKarma in Nov 2018.
More than 3 million people use CreditKarma. Noddle service has been in operation since 2011.
Information that you can access is usually updated every 30 days.
Finally, you can use CreditKarma to see who has accessed your credit file and to find out what information is held about you.
Credit Compass is CallCredit’s subscription service.
Users can pay £14.95 per month, for more detailed access to their credit file.
Data on Credit Compass is updated daily, rather than monthly.
Most people do not need daily updates and will be happy with the free service provided by Noddle. Credit Compass may be more suitable if you go through many financial transactions or want to micro-manage your credit file.
Statutory credit report
For a one-off payment of £2, you can access a snapshot of your credit file.
This may be preferable if you want your credit report sent by post. Most people will benefit more from signing up to Noddle.
What lenders can use CallCredit for
Lenders can use CallCredit to run ID checks.
This means that they can check that your name and address are accurate and that you are who you claim to be.
Your credit file includes your electoral roll status. If you are registered to vote, this provides further confirmation of your address.
Your file with CallCredit will also include previous addresses. Most lenders want to see your address history over a few years, as well as knowing where you currently live.
Lenders can use CallCredit to check your credit file
The credit score that you see, when you access your file through Noddle, is simply a guide for you.
Lenders will see more in-depth scoring and a detailed credit file.
They will be able to make their lending decisions based on records of your financial behaviour.
Each lender will have their own criteria, so what looks good or bad to one lender may not matter at all to another.
Lenders will be able to see your payment history. This will show them if you have missed payments or been late with your payments, in the past.
CallCredit can provide access to details about:
- bank accounts
- loans, credit cards
- mortgages and other financial products.
- Your report lists products that are held in your name, as well as details about anyone else that you are financially linked to.
Besides, lenders can see data from the UK Cards Association. This includes information about your card payments and any cash advances that you have used.
CallCredit’s Gauge 2
CallCredit provides a service called Gauge 2.
This is their credit risk scoring system, aimed at lenders and credit providers.
Gauge 2 takes raw data about your financial behaviour, then converts it into usable information.
Lenders will not just see details about who you are and how you manage your money. In addition, they can also see any past addresses that you have not declared and any other names that you go by. This is important for fraud prevention.
Lenders can see a risk level associated with your residential postcode. Because car insurance quotes are often based on geographical statistics, and your ability to get credit is no different.
If you live in an area where an above average number of people are in debt and defaulting, this may affect your ability to get a loan today or credit card.
Gauge 2 comes with manual access to credit files.
This is so they can be reviewed by human beings, as well as automated systems that can be used for computer-based decisions. This is how lenders can often provide decisions within minutes.
One of the other benefits of Gauge 2 for lenders is that it comes with industry-specific credit scores. You will only see a general score when you access your CallCredit file. However, lenders can see scores that show what you are like as a specific type of customer.
If you are reliable with your mobile phone contract payments, then you may have a high score for Telecoms. Also if you are building up debts using online store cards, then this may be represented by a low Mail Order score.
If you keep up with loan payments, then you may have a good Loan score. If you are falling behind on credit card payments, then you may be marked down in this area.
Using this level of detail, lenders may determine you are a suitable customer for their product, even if you have been marked down in other areas.
Simplified Call Credit rating scale
Whilst lenders need access to extremely detailed data, consumers typically do not.
The CallCredit Rating Scale is a useful tool if you want to predict how a lender will view you.
This is a simple rating, from 1 to 5.
People with a rating of 1 can have trouble obtaining credit. These are people with an adverse credit rating. Any loans or credit cards that they are offered may come with high-interest rates.
People with a rating of 5 are borrowers with the lowest risk levels. They are likely to get the best possible rates on any credit options that are available. They are more likely to have their applications approved.
Currently, CallCredit is the only referencing agency that uses such a simple rating scale. The rating features in the credit report that you receive. Your goal should be to reach a rating of 5.
Summary: Call Credit
The newest UK credit referencing agency, CallCredit is not as well-known as Equifax or Experian. However, this agency has been around since 2000.
Now, lenders including Wonga, Zopa and RateSetter are using CallCredit data as part of their decision making process.
For consumers, CallCredit offers free credit report access in the form of Noddle. Data is usually refreshed every 30 days, which should be frequent enough for most users.
You can see your credit score as a rating of 1-5. This makes it easy to check your current status.
If you have a low rating then you can expect that your credit applications will not be approved. High interest rates are typical at this level. With a high rating, you will get the best deals and will be more likely to have applications approved.
You can choose to pay £2 for a paper version of your credit report.
For £14.95 per month, you can subscribe to Credit Compass for information that updates daily.
For lenders, CallCredit offers Gauge 2. This is an in-depth system providing details about all your financial habits. Also, including your bank accounts, loans, credit cards and mortgages. Gauge 2 also helps lenders to make decisions based on geographical trends.
With CallCredit, lenders can also see your behaviour as a specific type of customer. As well as an overall score, they can view individual scores for Loans, Credit Cards, Short Term Loans, Current Accounts and more. This may help them to make a more personalised decision when you apply for any financial product.