Helped by its memorable ‘Meet Your Data Self’ TV ad campaign, Experian has become one of the most renowned consumer credit reporting agencies in the UK today.
What is Experian?
Experian is a credit-checking agency in the UK, which gathers and distributes information to consumers relating to their credit details, giving its users an insight into how they are viewed by lenders in the UK.
Do Credit Reports Matter?
Your credit report matters because it gives an indication of how your credit is assessed by lenders when you’re applying for mortgages, credit cards, personal loans or even mobile phone contracts.
If you discover that your credit history appears to be poor when checking your paid or free credit report, you can use certain techniques to improve your credit score before you apply for any loans or mortgages. However, if you don’t check your credit report, you may apply for a credit card or loan and be rejected – which can cause further damage to your credit and make it even more difficult to borrow in the future.
Products: Experian Credit Score and Credit Expert
Experian have over five million users and provide a range of free credit score services, as well as premium products that are available with a monthly payment for a more detailed insight.
You get the option of having a standard Experian account, which offers the free Experian credit score service, or a paid upgrade to Experian Credit Expert, which enables its users to access the full report at a price of £14.99 a month.
Experian Credit Score: Free Experian Account
The free Experian account gives its users access to the following benefits, both online and on the app:
- Free Experian Credit Score
- Credit card comparison and eligibility
- Personal loan comparison and eligibility
- Tips, videos and articles
Experian Credit Score Review
Experian’s free credit score gives users an idea of how they are viewed in the eyes of lenders, at no cost, forever. As a free Experian account holder, you are able to view your credit report as many times as you like without affecting your score, and it’s updated every 30 days as long as you continue to log in.
All credit reporting agencies in the UK calculate your credit score slightly differently and use different bands to categorise you into ‘good’ and ‘poor’ groups; but regardless of the company, the higher the score, the better your chances are of being accepted for credit from lenders.
Once you receive your free credit score, you essentially get a small insight into how likely you are to be eligible for the best credit cards, personal loans and mortgages. It’s presented clearly and you aren’t bombarded with complex graphs or figures, so even the most inexperienced of users are able to comprehend their score with ease.
There’s no doubting that the basic free credit score is just that – basic – and Noddle’s free service probably offers slightly more. This is because Experian want you to pay for their premium upgrade, Credit Expert, which does provide a more advanced assessment of your credit and finances.
Experian note that their free service is the UK’s most trusted credit score, but you only get the bare minimum as a standard member. If you want a full, more in-depth credit report from Experian, you can always upgrade to the subscription-based Experian Credit Expert.
Experian Credit Expert Review
Experian doesn’t provide a full, free credit report as Noddle does, but you do get one – along with additional features – if you pay the £14.99 a month subscription.
We’ll explain what benefits you get with Credit Expert later, but first, here’s how you sign up for it…
Credit Expert Sign-up form
The Experian Credit Expert sign-up form is similar to that of its competitors; they naturally require a lot of information and data in order to firstly, identify you, and secondly, confirm that it is you, because the financial information that you’re sharing is highly sensitive.
Initially, you are required to provide your personal details – including your name, address, date of birth, email address, phone number and so on. You then create a username, password and memorable word, which you need when you log in to Experian Credit Expert as a sort of PIN (i.e., they’ll ask for the 2nd, 4th and 5th letter of your memorable word to log in). Most importantly (for them), you then provide your credit card details.
Credit Reports contain a significant amount of valuable and sensitive information that must remain private, so it’s important that they receive these details from you, in order to validate your identity. That said, it’s no more than your average subscription sign-up form, so there’s nothing to complain about there.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be presented with your full Experian Credit Expert Report.
Experian Credit Expert Reports – What Do They Include?
When you log in to Experian Credit Expert, your dashboard is easily readable and simple, with a prominent colour-coded dial that visibly summarises your credit score. It gives you a score, and whether that equates to being ‘Very Poor’, ‘Poor’, ‘Fair’, ‘Good’, or ‘Excellent’. From here, you’re able to browse and view the whole of your credit report.
The Experian credit report itself is straightforward enough; there aren’t too many figures and graphs, and the wording isn’t overly complex. Your score and rating is explained to you, allowing you to compare yours with other averages. There are some in-depth details for more experienced users, where you can view your credit account information and history going back 72 months.
Unlike most free services, you’re usefully able to view ‘score influencers’, which outlines how certain financial decisions or behaviours have impacted your score both positively and negatively.
Another handy feature of Credit Expert is that it alerts you when any significant changes are made to your report, including any accounts opened in your name and significant changes to your score, meaning that you aren’t required to manually keep track of your report too frequently and you are notified of anyone using your identity fraudulently. What’s more is that its alert system can be done through email or text, so you don’t even have to be near a computer.
Experian offer a comparison tool, similarly to Noddle, which allows you to compare the best credit cards, loans and mortgages, giving you an idea of how likely you are to be accepted by the lender. However, this requires further details regarding your employment and income, which is then stored by Experian and could be shared with their partners if you agree to it.
To summarise, the main Credit Expert benefits include:
- Score influencers that show you what is positively and negatively affecting your score
- Alerts that notify you of certain changes to your report
- Score history outlining how your score has changed over the last six months
- Timeline that demonstrates a single view of your score history and alerts
- Optional printing or PDF downloading services
Experian Credit Score Range in the UK
As we previously mentioned, credit reference agencies do not only use varying ways of calculating your credit rating, but they also have different category bands and maximum scores just to confuse things even more.
This means that, hypothetically, if you got a perfect Experian credit score of 999, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d receive full marks with Noddle (710).
Experian’s maximum credit score of 999 is probably the easiest to remember of all the credit reference agencies, so we should thank them for that!
What is a Good Credit Score in the UK?
You know that 999 is the maximum Experian credit score, but what’s a good score for the average adult in the UK?
Officially, a ‘Good’ credit score is categorised as anything between 881 and 960 with Experian. However, scores are split into a range of categories with different meanings relating to your credit eligibility, as outlined here:
- Very Poor (0-560): You are likely to be rejected for most credit cards, loans and mortgages.
- Poor (561-720): You may get accepted for credit cards, loans and mortgages, but they will have a high interest rate.
- Fair (721-880): You could get better interest rates, but your credit limits may not be very high and you won’t be able to borrow as much.
- Good (881-960): You should get most credit cards, loans and mortgages, but the very best may reject you.
- Excellent (961-999): You should get the best credit cards, loans and mortgages, but it is never guaranteed.
Keep in mind that your credit rating won’t stay the same forever; it’s an ever-evolving entity that can change (both positively and negatively) in accordance with your financial tendencies.
New Experian App Review
Experian was somewhat behind the competition in the app-department, but it has since released a brand new app, compatible on both Android and Apple smartphones, and it’s actually pretty good.
The simple fact that it has a fingerprint or PIN login system alone makes it that much better than the Noddle app, which is fundamentally quite poor.
The app gives all users access to their credit score, credit card comparison and eligibility features, with Credit Expert customers able to enjoy their premium benefits on-the-move.
It’s generally a useful and resourceful app, as suggested by its 4.7/5 iTunes rating, and it’s clearly working amongst the many happy Experian customers.
Can I Cancel Experian Credit Expert UK?
If you agreed to the £14.99 monthly fee for Experian Credit Expert but have since decided that it’s not for you, there are ways of cancelling.
You can cancel your Credit Expert account online in most cases, or you could call them for free using 0800 561 0083. When you cancel, your service will come to an end at your next billing date.
Remember that there is also a 30-day free trial for Experian Credit Expert, if you would like to give it a try. However, you must be sure to cancel before your trial month is over if you no longer want to continue using the service, or you may automatically be charged.
Experian Customer Reviews
Here’s how Experian was reviewed, on average, across these popular consumer review websites:
- Trustpilot: 1/5
- Smart Money People: 4/5
- Review Centre: 1/5
- Overall: 6/15
It’s a mixed bag of reviews (averaging at 2/5) but the Trustpilot and Review Centre ratings are not necessarily something to be proud of, especially when considering that Noddle received a Trustpilot score of 4/5.
It’s not all bad though, as their impressive and almost perfect 4.7/5 iTunes rating suggests.
There’s no doubt that Experian is one of the most popular and most trusted credit-checking agencies in the UK, which has become familiar with most people due to its popular TV advert campaign.
Its free credit score service is good; it gives users a general idea of how they are viewed in the eyes of lenders and, used alongside other free credit reports, it provides people with a valuable insight into their likelihood of being eligible for credit.
Although it comes at a cost, the full Experian Credit Expert report is a far more in-depth and detailed resource than most. One of its most impressive benefits is its ability to show you score influencers, which usefully outline how certain financial acts have impacted your overall score. We were also impressed by Credit Expert’s capacity to send users alerts that notify them of any suspected fraudulent activity by email or text.
We hope you found use in our Experian Credit Expert review; but if you’re looking for a totally free (yet slightly less detailed) service, head over to our Noddle review!