By Lea Pachta

Credit reference agency first to make £2 Statutory Credit Report accessible online as Department for Business Innovation & Skills announces measures to improve people’s access to credit files.

Leading instant online credit information provider, Equifax, welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) of new voluntary measures to improve people’s access to credit files.

Indeed, Equifax is the first credit reference agency to make its £2 Statutory Credit Report available online — it has been trialling this service since August 2009 with around 1 in 5 of requests for the Statutory Credit Report* now being delivered this way.

“Since we launched our instant online consumer credit file services in 2004 we have been determined to give individuals as much insight as possible into their credit data”, confirmed Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax. “Having easy access to your own credit information puts you in the strongest possible position to get the best financial deals for your circumstances as well as generally manage your finances.

“Adding the £2 Statutory Credit Report to our online services is obviously essential to give consumers complete choice — and we were delighted to be able to demonstrate to BIS, as part of their investigations last year into consumer access to credit information, that this was something we were already trialling.

“This service is now fully accessible from our home page, www.equifax.co.uk, giving consumers the full range of options when they are thinking about accessing their credit information.”

Recent research* conducted by Equifax amongst consumers who had bought the £2 Statutory Credit Report confirms that credit information is becoming much more integral to an individual’s financial management. Although 12% of respondents said they obtained a copy of their file because a recent credit application had been declined; nearly a third (28%) said they had taken the action simply because they wanted to better manage their finances or they had read about credit information in the press.

The addition of the £2 Statutory Credit Report to Equifax’s online services demonstrates the company’s commitment to finding the best way to empower individuals to manage their finances, whether they simply want to manage their existing finances, resolve debt difficulties or check that they haven’t been a victim of identity theft.

Yesterday’s BIS announcement also identified that the credit reference agencies are supporting initiatives to help those in severe financial distress and victims of identity fraud with free access to their credit information.

Equifax has been supporting those with financial problems for a number of years, working with all the key debt advice charities to enable free access to credit files for individuals who seek help. Equifax also provides free access to credit files for victims of ID fraud under the Victims of Fraud Service which it jointly launched with the other credit reference agencies in August 2008.

“Credit information is a really important part of an individual’s financial assets and it is their right to know that it is representing them fairly”, concluded Neil Munroe.

“We, therefore, have an on-going commitment to give consumers the best possible access to this vital data and we believe the addition of the £2 Statutory Credit Report to our online services, accessible right from our home page, strongly reinforces that commitment.”

*Equifax conducted research amongst 758 purchasers of its £2 Statutory Credit Report service, 5th March 2010.

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