3 min read

A guide to the credit reference agencies

Lucy Burgess
3 February 2017

We explain what you need to know about the UK's 3 credit reference agencies

To look after your credit score, it’s important to get a full picture of your finances. To do this, you can check in with all three UK credit reference agencies – that’s Equifax, Experian and Callcredit.

These three credit references agencies gather information about your credit history, and put this into a credit report. In turn, lenders will ask one or more of these agencies for information about you before accepting your credit application.

You’re already in the right place to check your Equifax credit report – ClearScore gives you your full Equifax score and report absolutely free.

However, different credit agencies have different information about you, which is why you should look at all three periodically. This is especially true before an important application like a credit card, loan or mortgage.

Check your credit score and report for free with ClearScore

Which lender uses which credit reference agency?

The main agencies are Experian and Equifax, which together cover the majority of UK lenders. 76% of lenders use Experian, and 54% of lenders use Equifax. Callcredit is newer and used by fewer lenders – 30% use this agency.

You can look up which agency your lender is using by checking this table.

How do you check each one?

You can get ongoing, unlimited access to your reports in the following ways:


  • ClearScore. It’s free and always will be.
  • Equifax’s Credit Report. This service is £9.95 a month, after a 30-day free trial.
  • Equifax’s Credit Report and Score. This service is £14.95 a month, after a 30-day trial.


  • Experian’s CreditExpert. This is £14.99 a month after a 30-day free trial.
  • Experian CreditMatcher. This gives you your Experian score for free and your report.


  • Noddle. Its main site is free. To see which factors are affecting your report, you can sign up to Noddle Improve, which is £30 a year.
  • CheckMyFile. This site shows you your Callcredit and Equifax information, and it costs £8.99 a month after a free 30-day trial.

It’s worth noting that you can get a statutory copy of each report for £2 – for Equifax, Experian and Callcredit. This is a one-off: you have to pay £2 each time you want to see your report. You can choose either an online or a paper copy.

Once you’ve checked in with each credit reference agency, you’ll have a good idea of your overall financial situation and you can fix any mistakes (do this on ClearScore here, and add a notice of correction if anything seems wrong).

It’s best to continue checking your report regularly to look after your score. You can read our cheatsheet on the 4 main things to check each month here.

by Lucy Burgess

Lucy has a background in law. Having spent a considerable amount of time researching personal finance, she's one of our in-house experts. 

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