What is Experian? - Everything you need to know

Tommy Buckley

Keeping an eye on your credit score is a smart idea, especially if you’re planning to apply for a mortgage, credit card or other financial product.

One of the ways to check out your credit history is with a company like Experian. But what actually is Experian and how does it work?

We’ll cover everything you need to know here in this helpful guide. This includes how credit scores are calculated, what you can do with an Experian account and how to sign up.

We’ll also show you a financial product you can open quickly and easily without a credit check - the Wise multi-currency account.

Join Wise today

What is Experian? An overview

Experian is a multinational consumer credit reporting agency (CRA) based in Dublin, Ireland. It’s one of a handful of major credit reference companies in the UK, but operates in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Founded in 1996, Experian offers services to personal customers and businesses. It specialises in data collection and analytics, collecting information about the financial activity of both individuals and businesses.

For organisations, it provides information services. While for personal customers, Experian offers services such as credit scores and credit reports. It aims to help people stay in control of their finances, as well as protecting their identity.

How does Experian work?

If you’re thinking of signing up with Experian, you’ll need to know a little about how it works.

Experian has a credit reporting system, which generates personalised scores and reports for each user. You create a free account, then you can access your own credit history and score. This is a record of all your financial activity, both past and present.

Your credit score will be between 0 and 999.¹ The higher your score, the more likely you’ll be accepted for the best credit cards, mortgages, car finance and loans on the market.

Lenders can access this information when you apply for particular financial products, such as credit cards, loans and mortgages. They do this through a credit check.

This is why it can be useful to be able to access your own credit report. You can see how attractive a prospect (or not) you appear to potential lenders. And if improvements are needed, you can take steps to build up your credit score. Experian has tools for that too, including a feature called Experian Boost.

What’s included in an Experian credit report?

Your Experian credit report will include detailed information on how you manage your finances. This includes the following:¹

  • Personal information - including current and past home addresses, employers, phone numbers, date of birth and any changes of name.
  • All of your credit accounts and applications - including loans, mortgages, overdrafts and credit cards.
  • All active accounts and contracts - including bank accounts, mobile phone contracts, broadband contracts and utilities accounts (e.g. electricity, gas and water).
  • Financial connections - such as joint bank accounts or mortgages shared with another person.
  • Missed or late payments (usually from the last six years)
  • Bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements and court judgements for non-payment of debts
  • Recent enquiries and credit checks.

What can you do with an Experian account?

So, why sign up for an Experian account? Here are the main features you’ll be able to access:¹

  • Check your Experian credit score
  • Use Experian Boost to instantly improve your credit score
  • See a summary of your total credit
  • Get offers tailored to your score
  • Check your chances of getting personal loans, credit cards and more.

Ultimately, Experian lets you check out what lenders see when you submit an application for a financial product - and apply with confidence.

How much does Experian cost?²

It’s free to sign up for an Experian account, which gives you access to your Experian Credit Score updated every 30 days. You can compare financial products, and get tips on improving your credit score.

There are also some paid options. A CreditExpert account is £14.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial for new customers. This gives you access to the following:

  • Daily Experian Credit Score and Report
  • Help understanding and improving your score
  • Credit report alerts
  • UK call support, including dedicated fraud support
  • Web monitoring.

Another option is Identity Plus, available as an upgrade to the free plan for £10.99 a month (with a 30-day free trial). This offers some premium fraud prevention features, such as a Daily Experian Fraud Report, web monitoring and fraud alerts.

Open a Wise multi-currency account

Not all financial accounts require a credit check. This usually means a quicker account opening process, and no extra records appearing on your credit history.

With a Wise multi-currency account online once you fund it your account, you cannot run over your account balance. ,All you need to do is verify your identity, which is required under UK anti-money laundering laws.

Join Wise today

You can verify your identity quickly and easily in the Wise app, using just a photo of your ID and a selfie.

Wise may request additional documents to verify a customer's identity

Once your account is open, you’ll be able to send, spend and convert between 40+ currencies. You’ll benefit from low, transparent pricing and mid-market exchange rates. And you can do it all in just a few clicks or taps, online or in the Wise app.

There’s even a Wise card for convenient, low-cost spending worldwide, available for a one-time fee of just £7 - and again, no credit checks.

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

After reading this, you should have a better idea of what Experian is and how it works.

It’s not the only credit reference agency out there, but it is one of the market leaders. And it has a free account, so you can check in on your credit score without paying a penny.

Sources used:

  1. Experian - Experian Credit Score
  2. Experian - Which product is right for me?

Sources last checked on date: 23-Jul-2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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