What is ClearScore? ClearScore credit check

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In the UK, there are three major credit reference agencies that generate a person’s credit score: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion1.

ClearScore is a fintech (financial technology) company that takes data provided by Equifax and provides users with access to their credit reports and credit scores for free.

All that’s needed is an email address to sign up, and you can access your credit score instantaneously so long as you are 18 years old or older.

Can I get ClearScore for free?

Yes, ClearScore is completely free for users to access. There are no subscription fees, hidden costs, or charges associated with using the platform. 

ClearScore generates revenue purely through partnerships with financial institutions and other service providers, who may offer products or services to users based on their credit profile.

This essentially means that inside the ClearScore app, any offers of credit cards or other financial tools that may be promoted towards you are likely part of partnerships between ClearScore and the company that provides the credit card or tool. This is how ClearScore makes its money.

This means you will have completely free access to your credit information, with ClearScore monetising various value-added services and partnerships promoted on the platform.
This is something to keep in mind when evaluating if any of the promoted services are worth using.

Where does ClearScore get its data from?

ClearScore gets its credit information from Equifax2, one of the UK’s main three credit reference agencies.

These agencies, (typically Equifax, Experian, and Transunion in the UK) collect data from a wide range of sources, including banks, lenders, utility providers, and public records.

This means your credit accounts, payment history, outstanding balances, and public records (e.g., bankruptcies, foreclosures) are all compiled into comprehensive credit reports tailored just for you.

ClearScore states clearly, however, that it does not take the actual score generated for you from Equifax - instead, it takes all the data collected by Equifax and then calculates its own unique score for each user3

As ClearScore operates in other countries, it also gets its information from other credit reference agencies that are unique to each country, such as using Illion’s4 information for Australian customers, with the same system in place.

Why not use Equifax?

Some people may ask: why not get my score straight from the source instead? The main reason is Equifax, along with the other two major credit reference agencies in the UK, charge monthly payments to access your credit score.

This is exactly why fintech companies have managed to grow so quickly, with ClearScore currently sitting at over 20 million users5.

How does ClearScore work?

To use ClearScore, you must sign up for an account on the platform, providing some personal information to verify your identity.

Getting information

This information typically includes:

  • Your email address
  • Your current residence
  • How long you have lived at your current residence
  • Your income
  • Information regarding your current credit card providers
  • Information regarding your current credit card limit

Once verified, ClearScore retrieves all your relevant data from Equifax and compiles your unique credit report and score through a ClearScore credit check.

Seeing your credit score

ClearScore dashboard

You can access ClearScore and your credit information through either the ClearScore website or the mobile app.

Insights & tips

ClearScore recommendations

Using your information, ClearScore also provides insights and recommendations based on your credit profile to help you understand what factors are helping or hurting your credit score.

ClearScore guidance & support

They also provide some general articles to help you with your finances.

Product placement

ClearScore offers

As mentioned previously, the platform also offers product recommendations (e.g., credit cards and loans) tailored to your credit profile.

Is 600 a good ClearScore credit score?

ClearScore generates its own unique credit score based on Equifax’s data, although it does take the same total score system of 0-1000.

Here is ClearScore’s credit ranking system6:

Credit score Rank name
0-409 “Let’s start climbing”
410-519 “Moving on up”
520-604 “On good ground”
605-724 “Looking bright”
725+ “Soaring high”

But what do these scores actually mean? Although these ClearScore names can give you a decent idea of how good your credit score is, it can be hard to tell just based on these what your score will get you when it comes to loans or mortgages.

How does this compare to Equifax?

According to Equifax, the average UK credit score is 6447. Although ClearScore and Equifax don’t have the exact same system, given their similarities this is a good guide to how well you are doing relative to other people.

For more reference, here is Equifax’s overall credit system.

Equifax credit score Equifax’s credit rating What it means
0–438 Poor You are unlikely to be accepted for credit.
439–530 Fair You may be approved for some credit, but likely with high-interest rates and a low limit.
531–670 Good You should be offered credit with standard interest rates, but you may have a low credit limit
671–810 Very good You should be approved for most credit applications with reasonable interest rates.
811–1,000 Excellent You should be approved for almost all competitive credit offers.

What systems do other providers use?

While most providers use roughly the same types of data, the scoring system can vary significantly. While Equifax and fintech companies that use Equifax have a 0 -1000 score, Transunion uses a 0 - 710 score, and Experian uses a 0 - 999 score.

Make sure to check your specific provider and its ranges to see clearly where your credit score stands.

Is ClearScore an accurate credit score provider?

Equifax, the source of ClearScore’s data, is generally considered a reputable and trusted source of financial information - there’s a reason it is one of the UK’s big three.

However, like any credit reporting service, there may be occasional discrepancies or inaccuracies in the data provided. Factors such as timing differences in data reporting, errors in data collection, or identity theft can impact the accuracy of credit reports.

Luckily, ClearScore gives you the power to report any inaccuracies you find in their credit reports, which the company will investigate and rectify if necessary. 

This is done through the tools and resources ClearScore provides to users that allow you to monitor your credit information regularly and stay informed about any changes or updates.

While no credit reporting service can guarantee 100% accuracy due to the inevitable risk of financial mistakes, delays in accounting, or lack of information, ClearScore has built a strong reputation for reliability and transparency, and can be trusted to give an accurate score.

Can ClearScore affect my credit score rating?

No, using ClearScore does not directly impact your credit score rating. This is because as a credit referencing service, ClearScore only uses “soft searches” on your credit history.

A soft inquiry does not affect your credit score in any way, with soft inquiries being initiated by the individual for informational purposes, not involving any lender's review of your creditworthiness. These full reviews are considered “hard searches”, and can affect your credit score.

Remember that applying for credit or loans through lenders offered on ClearScore will often result in a hard inquiry, which can impact your credit score temporarily. 

Hard inquiries occur when a lender reviews your credit report as part of the application process for new credit, such as a credit card, loan, or mortgage.

Should I link my bank account to ClearScore - safe or not safe?

Linking your bank account to ClearScore is probably the quickest and easiest way to verify your identity and get your credit score. But is it a safe option?

This really depends on your personal comfort around sharing financial data. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to linking your bank account to ClearScore8:

By connecting your bank account, ClearScore can analyse your transaction data, which it will use to offer tailored advice on budgeting, saving, and managing your finances more effectively.

Providing your bank data will mean that ClearScore can view all your transactions on that account. However, They cannot access your account - this means they are physically unable to move or affect the money in your account in any way.

Think of it as a window into your bank, rather than a door.

You can also unlink your account at any time.

If you like your privacy and don't want another fintech company accessing your online data, you don’t need to link your account - but if you don’t care too much, you can rest easy knowing your data is held securely through encryped Open Banking software, which is used by 6 million people in the UK.

When ClearScore updates your credit score

ClearScore typically updates your credit score every month, however this can vary slightly depending on the credit reference agency's data reporting schedule.

If you want to know when your credit score was last updated, you can check your ClearScore reports page.

Is ClearScore.com safe and reliable?

Getting its info from one of the UK’s big three credit agencies, ClearScore.com is generally considered reliable and trustworthy. 

It also employs robust security measures to protect users' personal and financial information, and it adheres to strict data protection regulations, making sure your data remains secure.

While no service can guarantee 100% accuracy, ClearScore is generally a good source of credit score info.

Why is my credit score important?

Regardless of how you track it, your credit score can be vital for your financial success, whether it’s leasing a car, getting a personal loan, or trying to buy a house.

Your credit score reflects your creditworthiness and trustworthiness financially, influencing lenders' decisions when you apply for credit cards, loans, mortgages, or other forms of credit. 

A higher credit score typically means better access to credit at favourable terms, such as lower interest rates and higher credit limits. 

That’s not it, though. Your credit score can also affect other aspects of your life, such as renting an apartment, securing insurance, or even getting a job. Because of just how many ways your credit score can affect your life, maintaining a good credit score is essential for achieving financial goals and stability.

What factors increase or lower my credit score?

So, it’s clear that having a good credit score is important. But what can you do to improve it, and what factors can change it?

Factors that can increase your credit score:

Timely payments:
Making on-time payments for credit cards, loans, and other bills demonstrates responsible financial behaviour and can boost your credit score.
Low credit utilisation:
Keeping your credit card balances low relative to your credit limits can improve your credit score. Aim to use no more than 30% of your available credit.
Diverse credit mix:
Having a mix of different types of credit accounts, such as credit cards, instalment loans, and mortgages, can positively impact your credit score.
Long credit history:
A longer credit history demonstrates your ability to manage credit responsibly over time, which can improve your credit score.
Regularly checking your credit report:
Monitoring your credit report for errors and unauthorised activity can help maintain the accuracy of your credit information and prevent potential negative impacts on your score.

Factors that can lower your credit score:

Late or missed payments:
Payment history is one of the most significant factors affecting your credit score. Late payments, missed payments, and defaults can significantly lower your score.
High credit utilisation:
Utilising a large percentage of your available credit can indicate financial strain and increase your credit risk, leading to a lower credit score. It’s usually advised to use more than 5% but less than 20%9 of your overall credit limit.
Applying for new credit frequently:
Each time you apply for new credit, a hard inquiry is recorded on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your credit score.
Closing old accounts:
Closing old credit accounts shortens your credit history and reduces your overall available credit, which can lower your credit score - so keep them open!
Defaulting on loans or declaring bankruptcy:
Serious financial issues such as defaulting on loans, foreclosure, or declaring bankruptcy can have a significant negative impact on your credit score.

Whether you use ClearScore or another app or tool, it’s definitely a good idea to keep track of your credit score and keep your financial life on track.

Keeping an eye on your credit factors and doing your best to improve them is a good way to get more financially secure, and using an app like ClearScore can make this process much simpler. 

This is especially true if you are new to managing your finances, with apps such as ClearScore giving you advice and useful tips along with free access to your credit score.

Sources: all third party information obtained from applicable website as of February 15, 2024

  1. https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/credit/#:~:text=The%20three%20main%20consumer%20CRAs,credit%20and%20service%2Futility%20accounts.
  2. https://www.equifax.co.uk/
  3. https://www.clearscore.com/nz/learn/credit-score-and-report/whats-the-difference-between-clearscore-and-experian#:~:text=your%20credit%20report.-,How%20does%20ClearScore%20work%3F,to%20generate%20its%20own%20score.
  4. https://www.illion.com.au/
  5. https://www.clearscore.com/about-us#:~:text=We%20are%20a%20financial%20marketplace,careers%20for%20our%20extraordinary%20team.
  6. https://www.clearscore.com/learn/credit-score-and-report/what-is-a-good-or-bad-credit-score
  7. https://www.finder.com/uk/credit-score-statistics#:~:text=The%20average%20credit%20score%20in%20the%20UK%20is%20644%20according,and%20location%20within%20the%20UK.
  8. https://help.clearscore.com/hc/en-us/articles/10619322205970-Why-link-your-account-during-sign-up
  9. https://www.clearscore.com/learn/credit-cards/whats-the-ideal-level-of-credit-utilisation

This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to address every aspect of the matters discussed herein. The information in this article is not intended as specific personal advice. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, regulatory or other professional advice from IDT Payment Services, Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “IDT”), and should not be taken or used as such by any individual. IDT makes no representation, warranty or guaranty, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is current, accurate, or complete. You should obtain professional or other substantive advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the information in this article.