Brits are in the dark when it comes to their credit reports, research from Experian and Credit Strategy as part of Credit Awareness Week has revealed.
A survey of 2,077 UK adults conducted by YouGov on behalf of Experian and Credit Strategy found some 49 percent have never accessed their report, despite an individual’s information being key to lenders’ decisions about whether to provide credit or not.
Teenagers and those in their early twenties (aged 18-24) are the most likely not to have checked, with nearly three quarters (72 percent) not having done so.
Of those who have checked, a fifth (20 percent) had done so more than three years ago, suggesting that looking at their credit report still isn’t a regular habit for the public.
That’s despite consumers being able to potentially save hundreds of pounds if they improve their credit score.
New analysis from Experian estimates that the APR offered on a loan could fall by at least two percent on average when someone improves their score by just one Experian credit score band.
That means if an individual improves their score band from Poor to Fair, they could save an average of £381 on a four-year loan of £6,000, as they would likely be paying a lower interest rate.
The research has been released ahead of Credit Awareness Week 2019, which aims to help people understand their credit data so they can take control of their finances and achieve their goals.
Credit Awareness Week, a joint project between Credit Strategy and Experian, promotes financial inclusion through financial education and increased use of data.
Clive Lawson, managing director of Experian Consumer Services, said: “Our annual consumer research reveals that the public’s awareness about credit scoring and the role it plays in their finances remains relatively low.
“Getting to know your credit report means you can understand what’s affecting your score so you can start to manage it and access the best deals.”
The survey also revealed a significant majority (78 percent), said that being named on a “credit blacklist” would have an impact on someone’s credit score – despite there being no such thing - while 17 percent incorrectly think that checking your own report could also have an impact.
The results suggest the public also misunderstand the role Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) play in applications. Some 28 percent incorrectly believe the CRAs are responsible for making decisions over credit card applications and a fifth (20 percent) think they do the same for loans.