Credit & Fraud Agencies

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In the U.K there are three main Credit Reference Agencies (CRA's) - Callcredit, Equifax and Experian. They work with building societies, banks, mobile phone companies and other major retailers to help those businesses make a quick and accurate decision about whether the person applying for credit is likely to pay it back. At some point in our lives we will all apply for credit - be it a car loan, a mortgage, a mobile phone contract or a new credit card - and whenever you apply for credit, the lender will approach a credit reference agency for information about your credit history, which helps them to make a fair and responsible decision about whether to give you credit. It will also help them protect themselves against fraudulent applications – a seemingly growing problem in the UK.

There are two main Fraud Prevention Agencies (FPA's) in the U.K. These are N Hunter Ltd, who is an independent not-for-profit company, and is primarily concerned with the prevention of application fraud within the banking, finance and insurance industry; and to protect victims of fraud and CIFAS who is a not-for-profit company working to protect businesses, charities, public bodies and individuals from financial crime. They have more than 25 years of experience in fraud prevention and financial crime, working with a range of UK organisations to protect their customers and the public.

Usually when you apply for credit the lender will run a check against one or more of the credit agencies and fraud agencies so it's worth noting that when you apply for credit to use the correct details and do not change / guess fields because you will be picked up on it which could result in a CIFAS fraud warning being registered against you for up to 6 years!

Free Credit Report & Score

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Credit Reference Agencies

It's never been easier to find out what information your lenders & creditors are sharing about you with the credit reference agencies. Thanks to some leading Credit Clubs offering free access to your full credit report & credit score, it's now possible to view all the information that each of the three main credit agencies hold about you. The providers listed below are totally free and because they all use the 'soft search' facility, checking your own report will never impact your ability to get credit.


Noddle
(Call Credit)


VIEW REPORT

ClearScore
(Equifax)


VIEW REPORT

MSE Credit Club
(Experian)


VIEW REPORT


  • Noddle provides your report and score based on information provided by Call Credit, the third Credit Agency. ClearScore provides your report and score based on information provided by Equifax, the second largest credit agency and MSE Credit Club provides your report and score based on information provided by Experian, the largest credit agency in the U.K.

  • Fraud Prevention Agencies

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    Fraud Prevention Agencies

    All organisations that use Fraud Prevention Agency services must advise their potential or existing customers or claimants (as part of their application or claim process) that they will search the CIFAS / N Hunter databases, that they may exchange information through CIFAS / N Hunter, and how the information may then be used as part of their application or claim process.

    Fraud Prevention Agencies enable organisations to exchange information about fraudulent applications for accounts, insurance, services, products or fraudulent claims for benefits, for example:

    » Existing accounts, claims or policies that have been accessed or misused in a fraudulent manner;
    » Fraudulent insurance or other claims.;
    » Innocent victims of fraud to protect them from further fraud.

    When an organisation identifies a fraud, a warning with the details of the individual linked to the application or facility is placed on the CIFAS database. The warning shows the name used but this does not necessarily mean the person named is involved in the fraud, as fraudsters tend to use a variety of names, some false and some genuine. The warning does not mean the individual has been blacklisted.

    Fraud Prevention Agencies information is not used to assess an individual's ability to obtain or maintain an account, product, facility, insurance policy, benefit or employment. It is only used to prevent fraud - remember, Fraud Prevention Agencies are not Credit Reference Agencies.


    CIFAS Subject Access


    REQUEST CIFAS SAR

    N Hunter Subject Access


    REQUEST N HUNTER SAR


  • When an organisation searches the Cifas database, they are made aware of a potential fraud by means of a flagged warning. The organisation must not automatically reject the application or claim, but must undertake sufficient checks to ensure that they are dealing with a genuine customer rather than a fraudster. This warning does not mean that the individual has been blacklisted. It means that extra precautions should be taken to ensure that the application or claim that has prompted the check is genuine. This will protect the organisation from fraud and will also protect individuals whose details may have been used fraudulently.

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    Credit Reference Agencies

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    What is a Credit Reference Agency?

    Credit reference agencies exist because lenders need an accurate way to judge people’s creditworthiness and at some point in our lives we will all apply for credit – be it a car loan, a mortgage, a mobile phone contract or a new credit card. And whenever you apply for credit, the lender will approach a credit reference agency for information about your credit history, which helps them to make a fair and responsible decision about whether to give you credit. It will also help them protect themselves against fraudulent applications – a growing problem in the UK.

    How many Credit Reference Agencies Exist?

    In the UK there are three main credit reference agencies - Callcredit, Equifax and Experian. They work with building societies, banks, mobile phone companies and other major retailers to help those businesses make a quick and accurate decision about whether the person applying for credit is likely to pay it back.

    Do CRA's Make Lending Decisions?

    No - credit reference agencies will not decide whether you are to be given credit. That is the lender's decision and theirs alone. Credit reference agencies are independent organisations that hold the information that lenders use to decide whether you should get credit. They play no part in the actual decision-making process and the information they hold is entirely factual - with no opinions about it expressed.

    What Information do Credit Reference Agencies Hold?

    Credit reference agencies hold personal information and details about your financial history which includes:

    » Your presence on the electoral register
    » Any court judgements made against you
    » Any bankruptcies or insolvencies
    » Your past and current credit agreements, including how much you owe and your repayment history

    Fraud Prevention Agencies

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    What is a Fraud Prevention Agency?

    A Fraud Prevention Agency aims to detect and prevent fraud, and protect people whose names, addresses or other details are used fraudulently. They work side by side with CRA's and lenders to help assess truthworthiness against fraudulent activity.

    How many Fraud Prevention Agencies Exist?

    There are two main Fraud Prevention Agencies (FPA's) in the U.K. These are N Hunter Ltd, who is an independent not-for-profit company, and is primarily concerned with the prevention of application fraud within the banking, finance and insurance industry; and to protect victims of fraud and CIFAS who is a not-for-profit company working to protect businesses, charities, public bodies and individuals from financial crime.

    Do Fraud Prevention Agencies Make Lending Decisions?

    No - that is the lender's decision and theirs alone. Fraud Prevention Agency information is not used to assess an individual's ability to obtain or maintain an account, product, facility, insurance policy, benefit or employment. It is only used to prevent fraud.

    What Information do Fraud Prevention Agencies Hold?

    Fraud Prevention Agencies hold personal information that you provided on your application to the banks, building societies, and other sectors of the financial services industry who are part of CIFAS / National Hunter. The FPA's do not hold details of PPI policies or payments nor do they hold credit scoring records, credit histories, copies of County Court Judgements (CCJs) or electoral roll information. Depending on the status of your application, the data will be kept up to 6 months, and with a maximum retention period of 6 years.

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is CIFAS?

    If you’ve been a victim of fraud, and spoken to your bank or another financial institution about it, it's likely that you are on the CIFAS database. Most banks and financial institutions in the UK are members of CIFAS. They use the CIFAS database to help them check credit applications.

    Will being on the CIFAS database affect my credit score?

    No, being on the CIFAS database won’t affect your credit score; neither will it stop you from getting credit. If you are on the CIFAS database, this will show up on your credit report. It may mean it takes longer for your credit applications to be approved because banks and financial institutions will thoroughly check your application to make sure it isn’t fraudulent.

    What is National Hunter?

    National Hunter will warn a lender if its checks suggest that an application is "suspect". In turn, the lender's computer may then turn down an application, without informing the applicant precisely why, or which database was checked. The vast majority of its rejections are likely to be for entirely legitimate reasons.

    How can I find out what data the FPA's hold about me?

    Unlike obtaining your credit file, which can be free or 2 for your Statutory copy; to obtain the information held by the FPA's entails sending in a Subject Access Request with 10 payment. The FPA then has 40 days to send you the information they hold about you with an explanation of the codes and meanings used.

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