Creditexpert.co.uk is the consumer membership site of Experian, the credit report company in the UK. It promises a 30 day free trial during which you can access your Experian credit report, see what’s listed on it and how you score. You can also get email alerts of any changes to your report, designed to give you an early warning if someone tries to set up credit using your name, and access to expert knowledge and tools to help you improve your score.
All of which sounds simple enough, and with the growth of identity theft as an organized criminal activity, you probably should have access to your credit report. Who better to get it from than Experian themselves, right?
Not in my experience, and the experience of quite a few others. Here’s why:
Unless you’re like me and very persistent, it’s not actually easy to find out how much the membership costs until after you’ve handed over your credit card details “to prove that you are who you say you are.” OK, it’s reasonable to prevent users from accessing the trial without proof of identity considering the nature of the product, but keeping the price a trade secret? Come on. The FAQ pages contain the question “What does membership cost?” You would think the answer would include numbers, to help you make up your mind. No, instead the answer is “the appropriate monthly or annual fee depending on the service you joined”
The appropriate monthly fee is not accessible on the site until after you hand over your card details, so I did a bit of digging. Membership fees are currently £6.99 per month or £49.99 annually, which might not seem like a lot until you consider you only get access to your Experian credit report from creditexpert.co.uk. Experian is of course only one of three major credit report companies whose scores are used in the UK, the others being Equifax and Call Credit. When you consider that www.checkmyfile.com offers unlimited access to all three credit scores for only £4.99 a month, and tells you on the home pagecreditexpert.co.uk suddenly loses its appeal.
Both moneysavingexpert.com and ciao.co.uk have posts from users who have been unable to cancel their trial, and subsequently been charged monthly fees, making the ‘free trial’ a dubious marketing ploy at best.
All in all, while the service and product may be reasonable, Experian’s marketing and customer service practices leave a sour taste in the mouth, and there are cheaper more comprehensive alternatives.