More than 30% of UK consumers – the equivalent of 15 million people aged over 18 – have never checked their credit report, according to new research from uSwitch.
The information on credit reports can affect access to credit, the best rates for loans, credit cards and mortgages, and even job prospects.
Following the research we are launching the new It’s My Report campaign, calling for free annual credit reports
One in three turned down for credit
Just over 32% of those who have applied for loans, mortgages or credit cards have been refused, but our research discovered that many people are confused about what determines their eligibility for credit.
For example almost half of those surveyed did not know that being on the electoral role affected their credit score and 38% believed that age was a key factor, but this is has no impact on credit scores.
Confusion about credit and mismanagement of debt is thought to cost the British economy £8.3 billion per year, through the social problems it creates for families, employment prospects and strain on state services.
The debt charity StepChange is seeing more than a thousand people seeking help each day.
Chief Executive, Mike O’Connor, says: “If consumers were able to make better choices about their money, including seeking help when they need it, then we could help solve more debt problems more easily. ”
The ‘It’s My Report’ campaign
To raise awareness of the importance of credit reports and put the power into consumers’ hands uSwitch has launched the ‘It’s my report’ campaign.
David Mann, Head of Money at uSwitch.com, explained: “Consumers are walking a tightrope, trying to balance rising living costs with stagnant wages and many are relying on debt to make ends meet.
“They need all the help they can get, and information is power.”
What the campaign calls for
The campaign has three aims.
- Every person in the UK should get free access to their full credit report once a year.
- Make it mandatory for a person to be given the specific reasons why credit was refused.
- A standardisation of the credit score scale used in the UK.
This is the norm in other countries like Australia, the United States and Canada where everyone is entitled to a free annual credit report.